Category: Blog

cat food puzzle with egg cartons

Food Puzzles for Cats

Often times, our cats don’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation in their daily lives. Brain games and food puzzles can help to give them an outlet for their energy even if we don’t have a ton of space for them to run and jump around. Any cat can benefit from incorporating brain games into their daily routine and every cat can be successful at them! We just have to figure out which games or food puzzles are motivating and interesting to them.

Each cat is different so you may have to experiment with different types and styles of puzzles to see what they will engage with. You may also have to start with a very basic puzzle if your cat is not used to doing any work in order to get food or treats and work your way up to more difficult puzzles. Starting with a high value treat is also a great way to introduce them to the concept of working/playing for their food.

Food Puzzles for Cats is a wonderful resource that gives many ideas of types of food puzzles you can buy or even make yourself. They also give a difficulty scale so that you know which ones may be better to start with and work up to.

I like to have a variety of food puzzles on hand in order to rotate them so that the cats don’t get bored. Imagine doing the same puzzle over and over every single day, it would no longer be a challenge and would get quite boring. We want food puzzles and brain games to challenge our cats a bit and get some of their brain energy out!

Here are just a couple of examples of food puzzles that cats enjoy.

Cat Food Puzzles - Toilet Paper Rolls
Toilet paper or paper towel rolls taped together and filled with food or treats.
Cat Food Puzzles - Egg-cersizer
The egg-cersizer, which can be adjusted to make it more difficult or easy depending on how many holes you leave open. Then the cats just bat it around and food/treats fall out.
Cat Food Puzzles - Homemade Egg-cersizer
A toilet paper roll can be easily made into a homemade egg-cersizer by cutting holes big enough for food to fall out and folding the ends closed. This is one that I will sometimes hide throughout the house for the cats to find throughout the night.
Cat Food Puzzles - Egg Cartons
Egg cartons make really easy food puzzles that cats can use their paws to fish the food or treats from.

Don’t give up too easily! If your cat is not into the food puzzles right away, that is okay! Most of our cats are used to being free fed all the time and have never had to work for any food or treats. This is why we start easy and work towards more difficult puzzles. If your cat is really snubbing the food puzzles, think about meal feeding instead of free feeding and put at least a portion of their meal into a food puzzle. You can also use treats that they like such as chicken, freeze dried duck, salmon, or just regular crunchy treats like temptations if they enjoy those.

If you need further assistance, make sure to check out our cat training services or contact me with questions or concerns.

cat and dog cuddling

Dos and Dont’s of Introducing Cats & Dogs

There is a lot of information floating around about the best way to introduce cats and dogs.  Some of this information is very valuable, and other information can severely damage the relationship between your pets, the relationship between you and your pets, and even put you and your pets in a potentially dangerous situation.  I’ve complied a list of some very important things to keep in mind when introducing dogs and cats.

DO

Go Slow! I like to remind my clients that you can always go too fast, but you can never go too slow.  If you try to introduce pets too quickly when they are not giving you signs that they are comfortable you can put yourself back to square one or even worse.

DON’T

Don’t force the introduction! Many people think that holding the cat or putting it in a carrier or cage and then putting it right in the dogs face is the best way for the dog to smell the cat and get used to its scent.  But what about the cat? You can create a very fearful or defensive cat and get yourself and/or the animals hurt in the process. Instead, rotate blankets and beds so that they get used to each other’s scent without the fear or potential for harm.

DO

introducing cats and dogs
Give plenty of vertical space. When we talk about vertical space we are referring to tall towers or shelves that are appropriate for the cat to be on and will be well out of the dogs reach.  This will help the cats to be comfortable and confident in the space.  You can also give the cat a room with a baby gate on it that the dog does not have access to so that they have a space for their litter, food, and water.

DON’T

Don’t punish! Using force or punishment can make the situation worse because you are building the association that the other animal means something negative will happen.  You also aren’t teaching your pet what you would like them to do. Never use prong, choke, or shock collars on any of your pets.

DO

using treats for introducing cats and dogs
Make it a positive experience. Use high value food or another super valuable thing such as toys or petting when your pets are in the same area.  Reward them for looking at each other and being in the same space as one another. Remember- each pet has a different definition of high value. If you need some ideas, just ask!

DO

Train your pets. Both cats and dogs can be trained using positive reinforcement.  By using basic cues such as sit, down, place, and look at that, you can teach your pet to be well behaved and calm in the presence of the other animal.  Training together also can help to build a bond with them.  You can train your dog on the floor and your cat up on a table or counter.  It will be mentally stimulating and fun for everyone!

As always, if you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me for a consultation at info@6vx.ed9.myftpupload.com or 480-808-7297.  We want you to have a happy, harmonious home for all of your pets!

Desert landscape

6 Dangers of Living in the Desert & How to Protect Your Pets

arizona desert
Living in Phoenix, AZ we are surrounded by a ton of beautiful desert landscape. Even though it is a large metropolitan city, we still have many things native to the desert right in our backyards. Here are 6 of the most common dangers associated with living in the desert and some tips on protecting your pet(s) from them.

Heat

This is a pretty obvious danger as Phoenix can reach temperatures of 120°F plus on a hot summer day here. One thing to be aware of is walking your pet on the hot ground. They can easily burn their paw pads which is very painful for them. Even short walks around the block and getting in and out of the car on the hot pavement or asphalt poses a risk to our pets. Some tips for dealing with the heat:

  • You can look into pet shoes if your pet will tolerate wearing them if you do have to take them out for potty walks.
  • Park close to entrances of the vet or groomer or wherever you must take your pet so they do not have to walk on the hot ground.
  • Leave your pet at home if they don’t NEED to go with you.
  • Never leave your pet in the car even if you are running a quick errand because temperatures in the care can rise quicker than you realize.
  • Find grassy areas to take your dog potty so they don’t have to stand on the hot rocks.
  • And remember, if you are not comfortable leaving your bare foot on the ground for at least 5-10 seconds then your pet isn’t either!

Wildlife

coyote
Even in the heart of the city you can encounter coyotes, javelinas, bobcats, and birds of prey. These are all dangerous to our pets, especially small dogs and cats that have outdoor access. The wildlife is very brave and will jump right in some ones yard to get a drink from the pool or go after a pet. Birds of prey including hawks and owls have been known to watch small dogs from rooftops and then swoop down and pick them up. Wildlife encounters are not uncommon and since we have encroached upon their territory they are often not even afraid of a human presence, especially if they have young with them. Tips for dealing with wildlife:

  • Keep your cats indoors.
  • Never let your dog outside unattended.
  • Close doggy doors at night.
  • Build an enclosed dog run for your dog to go outside to potty.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when walking.
  • Don’t walk in areas surrounded by desert around dusk and dawn when wildlife is more active.

Cactus

There are many species of cactus in the desert and some are more dangerous than others. I try to avoid all cactus because even the ones that don’t look as prickly can still have tiny spines that you may not be able to see well. Jumping cholla is a species that people and pets very commonly find themselves battling with. Pieces easily break off and blow in the wind so they are often found in the middle of the sidewalk or road. These can easily stick to you or your pet even if you just brush by them. Here are some tips for dealing with cactus:

  • Stay on the sidewalk or well-marked trails when walking your dog.
  • Teach a “leave it” cue so that you can stop your pet before they decide to stick their nose in a cactus.
  • Keep your dog on a leash so they do not run off and step on a cactus.
  • Keep your cats indoors.
  • Carry tweezers or small pliers with you on walks in case you or your pet requires any to be removed.
  • Relocate any cactus in your back yard to your side yard or front yard where your pet will not have access to it.

Snakes

rattlesnake
Snakes are creatures tend not to bother us unless we bother them. Most often a dog will get bit in the face because they were sniffing around the area that the snake was hanging out or sniffing the snake itself. Snakes like to sunbath in the warm weather so they are often out and about during the day when you may be walking your dog. When you are walking, always remain aware of your surroundings so that you see any potential snakes before your dog does. They also can be found in bushes, under houses and sheds, right up against a house if its chilly outside, or in holes that they or other critters have created. There is a rattlesnake vaccine, but even if you choose to get your dog vaccinated you still need to get them to the vet right away for treatment if they’ve been bit. It can help reduce the symptoms and the need for as much anti venom but it does not make your dog immune. “Snake training” is something that trainers advertise that use shock collars to “teach” your dog to stay away from snakes. I will NEVER recommend “snake training” done with a shock collar or e-collar because there is no scientific evidence that it works and I have seen too many dogs have personality changes due to the fear and pain of the collar. Tips for dealing with snakes:

  • Snake proof your yard with snake proof fencing to help lessen the likelihood that snakes will wander over.
  • Teach your dog a “leave it” cue so that if you do encounter a snake they will not go over to sniff it.
  • Go outside with your pet to check to and make sure they do not find any sneaky snakes.
  • Keep your cat indoors.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when walking.

Toads

The Colorado River Toad, also know as the Sonoran Desert Toad, is toxic to dogs when they lick or eat them. They have poison on their skin which can make pets very ill or even cause death if they ingest it. The are most often found at night during monsoon season so that is when you should be on the lookout. Tips for dealing with toads:

  • Teach your dog a “leave it” cue.
  • Go outside with your dog.
  • Turn outside lights on when going out at night to be able to see what’s in the yard.
  • Keep your dog in a leash when walking.

Scorpions

Scorpions are creepy crawly creatures that look like they belong with the dinosaurs. They are quick moving and pretty intimidating for being such small creatures. If your pet or you is stung by one there isn’t always a reaction, but like a bee sting, if you are allergic the reaction can be severe. Benadryl is good to have on hand for any sort of bite or sting to lessen the symptoms so you are able to get to the vet. Cats are thought to be immune to them and while that may be true, I also think it’s because cats are faster than scorpions and typically play with them until they are dead. Tips for dealing with scorpions:

  • Have your house and yard treated regularly to get rid of the scorpions food source.
  • If your pet is pawing or barking or just acting funny at a spot on the ground, go check it out because they could be telling you there is a scorpion there!
  • Shake out bedding often.
  • Don’t leave shoes outside as they might make that their home.
  • Close your drains if you are in an area that you feel you have many.
  • Use a blacklight to find them in the dark in your yard so you know where they are coming from and also where to treat.

All of these dangers can seriously hurt or even kill a pet so it is very important to be diligent about knowing your surroundings and keeping an eye on your pet. Most encounters can be prevented by diligence. In the event that your pet encounters one of theses dangers and does get hurt, make sure you know where the nearest full service as well as emergency vet is since often accidents don’t happen at home.

While the desert is a wonderful place to live it has its dangers, just like any other area, that all pet owners need to be aware of. Arm yourself with the knowledge of your surroundings and you and your pet will be safer!

Just for cats

Carrie Pawpins has gone to the cats!

Recently, we have made some changes at Carrie Pawpins and one of the biggest ones is that we are only accepting new CAT clients!

Why only cats?

A few people have questioned this decision that was made so I want to take a second to explain the decision.  We have decided to make our services more specialized and just focus on our feline friends.  We know that when we narrow our focus to just working with cats we will be able to provide better quality of care and also be able to educate our staff to be the premier cat sitting team in the valley.

We know that cats prefer to be cared for by people that understand their body language, their wants, and their needs.  Some people that consider themselves “dog people” may not be as in tune to a cats language.  We understand the language of cats because we are cat people!

Our sister company, Purrfect Behavior, works with cat behavioral issues and specializes in solving problem behaviors as well as trick training and educational seminars for cat owners.  The company’s work hand in hand purrfectly!

We are excited to move forward as your cat experts to provide the best possible care for your cats in the comfort of your home.

cat crib product packaging

[Pet Expert] Cat Crib Product Review

When I was at CatCon®  a few weeks back I took the opportunity to purchase a few products to try with my girls.  One of the first items I picked up is called Cat Crib™.  This is essentially a hammock for your cat that can be attached under most chairs and end tables with 4 legs.

It is purrfect for those cats that like to have a hangout in a space that is a bit more enclosed while still allowing them easy access to see everything or leave if needed.  It is raised off the ground and it cradles them a bit when they are laying in it.

The packaging is very simple and has a small opening where you can see the color and feel the product.  I chose the black Cat Crib™ as I knew it would go with everything no matter where I put it in the house.

bianca in cat crib
Bianca enjoying her new CatCrib

When I got home from CatCon® I decided to give it a try right away.  I opened the packaging and laid out the Cat Crib™.  You are supposed to lay it in the center under the chair. Then wrap the straps around the chair legs.

One side of the straps has a rubber section that should be placed against the chair or table legs to keep it from sliding.  The other side is Velcro so that you can secure the strap to itself.  Bianca was not very helpful in the process of securing the straps to the chair legs so that made the process much harder than it really should have been!

Once I had the straps secured on all 4 legs, Bianca was happy to jump right in.  The chair I used has very thin legs. So there is a decent amount of strap that is not attached itself. So she also thought that those were a bonus toy.

The length of the strap would allow them to be used with thicker chair legs- I just do not have any in my house.

Next, I decided to test the weight limitations of the Cat Crib™ next. Since Bianca is not a fair judge of that as she weighs in at only about 7lbs.  I added two 10lb dumb bells.  Before I added the dumb bells, I did move the Cat Crib™ up higher on the chair legs.

So it would not be resting on the foot bar of the chair.  Again, being such a great helper, Bianca jumped right in.  The Cat Crib™ did not slip at all with the 27lbs of weight in it. Not even when Bianca jumped in or out.

bianca in cat crib with weights
Testing the weight limits of the CatCrib
bianca in cat crib
Bianca using her CatCrib to look outside

Overall, Bianca has enjoyed the Cat Crib™.  Inside where the cats lay has a soft fleece lining which is her favorite type of substrate to lay on.  Fiona did not interact with the Cat Crib™ that I have seen, but I was not expecting her too either.

The Cat Crib™ is well made and held up to the weight that I added. Bianca has continued using to bird watch and to play with the excess strap.  It is easy to clean the floor under it even while Bianca is sleeping.  I purchased it for $20 and I would say that the price is reasonable for the quality and durability of the product. As long as Bianca continues using it as she has been.

catcon 2017 logo

CatCon 2017 – Home of Cat Culture

This year was my first time attending CatCon® in Pasadena, CA.  “CatCon® is where pop culture and cat culture converge, showcasing some of the world’s top cat-centric merchandise, conversations with those at the epicenter of the cat world, incredible activations, and one of the biggest adoption lounges ever.”

CatCon
My heart just melted

I attended the first day of the convention and was able to see lots of wonderful cat products and meet some new cat loving friends.  I was hoping to be able to attend some of the free meet and greets, but unfortunately, they were already filled up by the time I entered the convention center in the morning.

The exhibit halls were filled with many cat-related booths ranging from cat litter to purses and clothing with cats on them to cat toys and furniture and some educational booths.  I really enjoyed visiting with the vendors and learning about some products that I was not aware of.

I was also able to educate myself more about products I had seen in the past but have not had a chance to try.  I did make a couple of purchases while at the convention that I will be using in the next couple of weeks and I will be sure to tell my followers my thoughts!  Some of the products I purchased were from Two Crazy Cat Ladies, Funky Pet Zones, Cat Crib, and Kitty Kasas.

There were many cat celebrities in attendance this year like Oskar the Blind Cat, Lil Bub and Moshow the Cat Rapper. And there were lots of attendees who were showing their love for their feline friends.  Overall, it was a fun event!

I encourage all cat lovers to make it to CatCon next year and make sure to get there early to be able to attend the meet and greets! You don’t want to miss out on any of the cutting edge cat products that are available!

Bianca the cornish rex cat

A Day in the Life: Feline Behavior Consultant [Meet Bianca]

I have always wanted a Cornish Rex cat ever since I was first introduced to them while working at a vet clinic.  We had a breeder who was a client and she would bring the cats in periodically after they had kittens or for their wellness checks.  I had decided that one day I was going to get a black and white male Cornish Rex.  Well, that day has still not come.

I received a call from the vet clinic while I was living in New Mexico that the breeder was re-homing 2 of her female cats because they could not be bred for various reasons.  She gave them to one of the technicians and gave her permission to find good homes for them for no charge.

Anyone that knows Cornish Rex cats knows that they can be very pricey to adopt from a breeder and it is not that often that one is given to a home for free.

The technician is a friend of mine and she immediately reached out to me to let me know of these 2 kittens- one was 6 months old and the other 8 months old.  The 6-month-old had not been spayed yet and she had a terrible hair coat, actually practically no coat at all.

The 8-month-old was already spayed and had a much nicer coat.  I met both of the girls and decided to take the younger one as I would be able to get her spayed in New Mexico at a clinic that I knew and trusted would take great care of her.  The technician’s son took the other cat.

bianca

That day I brought Bianca home to my parent’s house in Scottsdale where we stayed the weekend before driving back to New Mexico.  On the drive back she did okay.  I set up a large dog crate in the back of my CR-V and gave her a little bed, litter box, and water.

She talked in her high pitched meow for a bit but settled eventually.  Once I got her to my apartment it was time to put her in a separate room from Fiona and Rosemary so that we could do a proper introduction.

Now, like any cat owner, I was anxious to introduce her to the family and felt bad when she would cry behind the office door, so I will admit that I did not keep the animals separated as long as I usually recommend to my clients.

Her and Rosemary, the Rat Terrier, hit it off right away and loved to play together.  Fiona, the long-haired calico cat, was a bit of a different story.  The age difference between the cats is about 9 years so Fiona is much calmer and less playful than Bianca.  Bianca wanted to run and chase Fiona who just wanted her space.  It took a bit of time but it helped that Rosemary and Bianca hit it off so well and they were able to play and bond with one another.

Being a Cornish Rex, Bianca has a very outgoing and friendly personality.  She gets along with anyone, human or animal, that comes in the home and is very vocal.  Over the past 3 years, we have experienced a few medical issues with Bianca including a urinary tract infection which started a period of inappropriate urination outside of the litter box.

She also has her moments when she is a bit of a bully to Fiona when she does not get enough interaction and playtime with me during the day.

She is incredibly smart though and knows a few commands including “come” and “off” which we constantly practice.  She also travels with me to various educational events that I hold as my ambassador cat.

Having the 2 cats together with their different behavioral issues over the years has helped me grow as a behavior consultant because I am able to tell my clients my personal experiences with different issues such as: having a bully cat, inappropriate elimination, proper introductions with both cats and dogs, cats getting on the counter, and much more!

Today, Bianca lives with me and Fiona in my condo where she still has her crazy spurts of energy throughout the day but has grown so much over the years- including finally getting a little bit of a coat!

Fiona

A Day in the Life: Feline Behavior Consultant [Meet Fiona]

I wanted to do a little series to introduce everyone to my household and my cats.  They are not perfect and have had their share of behavioral issues that we have worked through.  I enjoy my clients and readers knowing that I have personal experience in my own home with many of the issues that I help solve on a daily basis- and I also just love talking about my girls too!

Hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about me and my cats!

Fiona is the second cat that I have owned as an adult.  Growing up my family fostered cats and kittens and we had about 100 come through our household. The first cat I owned myself was my hospice kitty, G.C., who had a great deal of health issues and was in her final days when I opened my home to her.  She was living at the vet clinic I worked at and I wanted to let her have a real home for the last few weeks (which really turned into almost a year!) of her life.

Fiona, long haired calico cat

After G.C. passed I was getting ready to move so I knew I didn’t need to bring a new animal into my life at this point as it would be very stressful for everyone.  A few weeks after I was settled into my new home and a new job I received a call from the vet clinic I had worked at and they let me know they had a new cat at the clinic that was an owner surrender.  Kaley, as she was named at the time, was a beautiful 7-year-old calico cat who had a habit of chewing on wires and cords.

She also had a grade 4/5 heart murmur and was not able to keep weight on her.  She was not able to roam the vet clinic like G.C. had because of her cord chewing habit.  I went and met her and of course fell in love, because how could you not!

I promptly renamed her Fiona because it was just a better fit I felt-and yes, she does respond to the name Fiona now and it did not take very long to teach her a new name.

I took her home and she was a little skeptical at first and slinked around exploring her new house.  After a few days, she settled in and just wanted to sleep in bed with me, sit on the couch, and share any snacks I was having.  I found out her favorite scratchers were corrugated cardboard and she loved sitting on the top of the 6-foot cat tower or looking out the window.

She has never been the most social cat with new people, but she warms up to people who are calm and let her approach them.

I did find out the hard way that, yes, she really is cord chewer! Over the years she has ruined a few phone chargers, my Surface Pro 2 charger, and even a lamp cord-very much a hazard!  I will talk more in-depth about wire chewing in a few weeks. I also found out that she is unable to have plastic bowls or toys as she does get “cat acne” from the plastic contact on her face.

Being a long-haired cat, Fiona is prone to hairballs so we have added in a daily hairball supplement which helps to reduce her leaving me those lovely presents around that house.  She does have a grade 4/5 heart murmur as well. The only symptom of this is the fact that she is not able to keep weight on well and has gradually been losing weight as she is getting older, but we have found a way to manage that with high calorie food and a probiotic supplement.  Fortunately, other than that she is very healthy!

Fiona has now been with me for 5 years and has been through multi moves and driven with me back and forth to New Mexico multiple times.  She has also been given a kitty sister, Bianca, and a dog sister, Rosemary.  Rosemary now lives with my parents with their other dog, Gypsy Jean.  Fiona is a very loyal cat and totally trusts me as her owner.

With her medical and behavioral issues I try to be cautious of stressing her too much, but I know that I have made my share of mistakes over the years, don’t worry I will tell you all about those coming up.  I have learned a ton from her over the years and I am happy that I get to share those experiences and learning opportunities with you!

Today, at 12 years old, she lives with me in the condo that she first started out with me in with her kitty sister, Bianca.


Have questions?

Contact Carrie for all of your feline behavior modification needs!

Contact Carrie

dog sleeping on bed

I am NOT the cheapest pet sitter [Pet Sitting Rates]

I have a lot of prospective clients that will call to price shop and ask me what my rates are for overnight care.  I tell them that the rate is $70 per night (as of June 2017) and explain that this includes about 12 hours of overnight care for the pet(s).

We do not charge extra per pet fees or for medications or for walks or even to take care of your home in your absence as some other companies do.  Too often I hear that this rate is very expensive and they want to check other places.  I have even heard that I should want to stay at someone’s home for no charge because it was such a beautiful home!

What people do not understand is that staying at your wonderful home with your pets is my full-time job so I take it very seriously.  Many hobby sitters can charge much less for overnight care because they are just that- hobby sitters.

I have heard too many horror stories about the kid down the street or the friend of a friend forgetting to give the dogs meds or just not spending the night at the home like the owner was expecting, and to the “sitter” it is not a big deal because they are just doing it to get some extra cash.

My company is bonded and insured and I even have a background in veterinary medicine and animal behavior.  I also do background checks on any sitters I have working for me and make sure that they have experience in the industry before I will even interview them.

At $70 for 12 hours of care that equals out to $5.83 per hour.  This is a little more than half of what is in Phoenix currently.  To meet minimum wage the rate would need to be $120 for a 12 hour night.  But we sleep the whole time so you don’t need to be paid to sleep! Wrong!

According to the IRS if a person is on call they still need to be paid even if they are sleeping or going about their regular day.  As a pet sitter, I am on call for your pets as well as your home.

If your dog needs to get up in the middle of the night, I must wake up to take him out, and sometimes its multiple times a night if he is stressed out from the change of his parents being away.  If I hear the cat about to have a hairball on the comforter you better believe I shoot out of bed to get that cleaned up!

I’m also there for the care of your home- if the alarm goes off, a pipe bursts or a smoke alarm battery starts chirping as it is dying I am there to be able to take care of it and comfort the pets.  And yes, those things have happened to me at overnights.

pet sitter
dog sleeping on the bed

So, while $70 a night may seem expensive I would like you to think about the exceptional service that you are getting for that rate that you will not get from a hobby sitter or the teenager down the street who view caring for your pets as a means to earn spending cash and typically work another job or have other responsibilities that may take precedence over the care of your pet.

As a professional pet sitting company this is what we do for a living.  It is a full-time job.

cat play by self

Exercise is more than just running!

When we think of exercising our pets the first thing that comes to mind is probably walking the dog or playtime around the living room with the cat.  Physical exercise is absolutely necessary for our pets but the issue is that we are only exhausting their bodies but doing nothing for their brains.  Let’s talk about why its so important to exercise our pets’ brains and some of my favorite ways to do that.

I have a client with a young German Shepherd that goes on daily runs and the owners wonder why every day the pup just wants to go further and on longer walks and runs.  Well, we are building up his strength so that he can go longer distances and times, but we are not tiring out his whole body and mind with just the physical exercise.

The first thing I asked this client was how they were feeding their dog.  Of course, he looked at me confused and told me “out of a bowl”.  He also let me know that his dog gobbled up his food in a matter of seconds once the bowl was put down.

My immediate recommendation was to add food puzzles and toys for the pup to enjoy his breakfast and dinner out of.  I explained that the dog stays home all day while you are at work and school, working your brain, and he is most likely sleeping not doing much while you are away.

When we get home we have to engage with our pets because they have been waiting for us throughout the day, bored.  By giving our pets food puzzles and using slow feeder type of bowls and toys we are providing mental stimulation as they figure out how to get the food out.  By giving them opportunities to figure out how to work the puzzles we are able to exhaust their minds which will help to make them tired overall.

My client was willing to try adding some food toys and, guess what, the pup loved it and it helped to tire him out at the end of the day without having to add another mile to the walk every night.

There are many types of food puzzles that can be used for our pets.  There are slow feeder bowls that slow down our pets who scarf their food a little bit, but I prefer more interactive toys such as Kong Wobblers, Petsafe Busy Buddy toys, Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, Petsafe Egg-Cersizer, and the Catit Senses 2.0 Digger.

These are the types of toys that you can fill up with a pet’s food to give them at mealtime and let them go to work.  Many times pets need a little help figuring them out at first so fill them up so it’s easier or put a tasty treat near the opening and inside so that they want to work a little harder to get to whats inside without getting frustrated from the beginning.

Pets will also start to master the different puzzles we give them, just like we do with crosswords and Sudoku, so I like to alternate the different toys so they are not doing the same thing every day and also find more difficult ones as they start to figure out the easy ones.

You can look in my shop for the toys that I’ve mentioned above, but I have found some great puzzles at Home Goods in their pet department too.  There are also toys that you can make yourself at home if you are on a tight budget!

A workout for your pet’s brain is just as valuable as a workout for their heart and body! Contact me today for some recommendations of food puzzles and toys for your pet! visit my toys store HERE or choose from some below!

Exercise is more than just running