Whether you have a young pup or an older dog, it’s good to know what tools and options you have to help him or her love nothing more than feeding time! We oftentimes come across dogs that have lost the appetite for their meals, but it’s never too late to change things up to get them interested in their food once more. Let’s go!
1. Snuffle mats Snuffle mats are probably the best way to feed a dog, regardless of their age, breed, or behaviour! It creates a fun sense of having to scavenge for each piece of kibble (or small pieces of their treat). You will never go wrong with using a snuffle mat instead of a regular bowl. Browse snuffle mats here. After your dog is done snuffling, provide a frozen kong so that your dog has something fun to chew and lick and encourage a relaxed behaviour that is in itself a reward for everyone!
2. Food Puzzles The first solution is great for mental stimulation and this one is no different, except that it provides more opportunities for problem-solving skills to develop! Most puzzles come in different levels, so make sure you start with the easiest one, especially if you have a young pup, and that you supervise their interactions as to ensure that it’s a manageable difficulty to avoid any frustration and chewing/destructive behaviour.
You can explore different food puzzles here.
3. On Walks/Outings This option is different from the others as it’s completely free and the most flexible!
When using snuffle mats and/or food puzzles, leave a bit of your dog’s food left for your next walk. You can do this in your backyard as well. Bringing your food on your walk will add a fun element to it where you can then have your dog find every small piece of kibble you toss along your walk. It’s extra fun when the pieces happen to hide in the grass and your dog can then use his nose to scavenge.
A useful item that can help you is a dog trainer pouch!
Keep in mind that expecting your dog to snuffle for their food on walks and outings can sometimes be a tall order if you find that there are too many distractions at the time, in which case you are better starting and reinforcing this type of activity with a mixture of food and treats that your dog doesn’t get at other, less distracting times and eventually you will be able to work your way to their regular kibble & food! Try these out!
Feel free to reach out to let us know how these options worked for you! Young pups will take to these quickly and appreciate access to a mixture of these habits and other enrichment activities. Older dogs may need a bit more time readjusting if you’re planning on switching from their bowl (you should!) to some of these options!