How can we treat our pets without treats?
We all love to treat our pets, we enjoy giving them tasty titbits almost as much as they love to eat them, but sometimes we must stop giving food treats. They may be on a special diet or perhaps they are watching their waistlines1 So how can we still ‘treat our pets’ without treats?
Whilst it can seem that the way to our pet’s happiness is through their stomach, in truth our pets love spending time with us and doing fun activities with their best friends, namely us, their owners.
So here are a few tips to help you treat your pet, without using food.
For our doggy friends, go on some new adventures. Dogs love to sniff and explore, taking a different path or a change in direction from your usual route is an exciting new adventure with plenty new smells to investigate.
Play dates – try arranging to meet up with some canine friends.
Games – what is your pets favourite game? Is it tug of war, fetch, agility or learning a new trick?
Maybe try hide and seek! Instead of hiding food, try hiding a favourite toy. Give their noses a workout. You can play this indoors or outdoors, let them sniff out their prized possession and enjoy how happy they are when they find it. Make it more challenging for them, get them thinking, hide the toy under a box or blanket, up high or down low, the more inventive you get the more challenging and fun it can be.
If your pet is having to rest and cannot run around how about some quality time together? Do not underestimate the positive benefits and power of touch, a nice relaxing brush and groom, they will really enjoy quality one on one time with you with lots of love and fuss, tummy tickles, and scratches or even a nice therapeutic massage.
If none of this inspires your pet and they really only enjoy food treats then try using some low-calorie alternatives such as safe fruit and veg or just use a portion of their normal daily ration with interactive puzzle feeders, lick mats, snuffle mats etc, this way they can still have treats but are not adding lots of extra calories and is perfect for pets on a special diet.
For our feline friends it can sometimes seem a little trickier, they prefer to do their own thing, but they too love having your undivided attention, having their human at their beck and call and getting head rubs on demand, we all know cats rule the home!
Cats love to stalk, chase and pounce, they are curious and love to explore new things, cut some holes in a big cardboard box and your cat will usually be the king or queen of their new domain, make a fun assault course allowing them to climb, jump and investigate new spaces, make a tunnel behind the sofa, cover a dining room chair with a blanket, lead the way with a fishing toy to chase.
Hide a portion of their daily food ration in various places, up high on their cat tree or under beakers they can knock over, let them go fishing inside cardboard tubes, or bat around treat balls, these all enable them to ‘hunt’ for their tea.