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  • Writer's picturePet Waggin' Pet Care Team

The Best Enrichment Gifts For Pets (& DIY Options Too!)

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

It can be hard being roommates with another species. It’s not just the language barrier, but there are differences in how we think and interact with the world. Imagine having to figure out why your roommate is yelling at you for chewing on the table leg. All you were trying to say was you were bored.

dog chewed up toilet paper enrichment ideas

Many of the little things we get irritated at our pets for are actually instinct-driven behaviors. From your cat jumping out and attacking your Achilles tendon, to your dog chewing up the coffee table… these are all totally natural to them. This is where enrichment comes in and is so, so important! Providing enrichment toys and activities shows your pet you might not be the same species, but you are paying attention to what they need. Whether it's’ for a Gotcha Day or a holiday gift, these are a few of the enrichment gifts we think are perfect for your pet. We’ve shared enrichment gifts for dogs, enrichment gifts for cats, and even DIY enrichment toys that you can make on your own!

Enrichment Gifts For Dogs

When it comes to enrichment toys, you really can’t beat the classic Kong. Fill with peanut butter (make sure it does not contain sugar or xylitol), the Kong brand treat paste, or really any treat that’ll force your dog to work in order to get to it. Working to get at the treat fulfills their instinct to look and forage for food… while the Kong itself satisfies the urge to chew. Kongs come in a variety of sizes and strengths so they are appropriate for all dogs.

dog kong toy and other enrichment ideas

If your dog is the intellectual type that enjoys a challenge, the Trixie Mad Scientist Turn Around Tube Toy is perfect for giving their brain a workout. Your dog will need to figure out how to turn the tubes to allow the treats to fall out. As your dog’s skill increases, you can increase the difficulty by swapping out the lids. Keep in mind that if your dog is a big chewer, this might not be the right toy, but for dogs working on scent work, dogs with vision problems, and dogs who are learning to solve puzzles, this toy is great. As a bonus, many reviewers say their cats enjoyed it as well!

If you like art and minimalism in your dog toys, then the Odin by Up Dog will appeal to you. You can fill one Odin with treats, or combine two or more to make it more of a challenge. Rolling it across the floor helps it slowly dispense treats and gets your dog moving. Unlike the Kong, this toy should not be chewed, it should only be rolled.

If you like the idea of a puzzle toy, but you’re trying to limit treats, this fun Turkey Dinner Snuffle Toy on Etsy is the way to go. In addition to a cuddly plush, this “turkey dinner” is a hide-and-seek toy with small carrot, sausage, and sage leaf plushies inside. You can hide treats in the smaller plushies, you can leave them treat-free, and let your dog have fun pulling them out of the turkey, or they can enjoy it as a rope toy. Each part of this feast is attached to a sturdy rope to keep the toy together.

Enrichment Gifts For Cats

Like dogs, cats have a foraging instinct, and engaging it through play is a healthy outlet. The Nina Ottosson Buggin Out Puzzle Cat Toy has treat dispensers reminiscent of ladybugs. Your cat will have fun working the puzzle to get to the hidden treats.

Just like with dog toys, when it comes to enrichment for cats, you can’t beat the classics. The basic Crinkle Ball is endlessly entertaining. Toss one and watch your cat stalk, pounce, and have a grand old time.

cat under blanket enrichment ideas

If your cat loves to burrow, hide, and bat at you from under blankets, then the Ripple Mat is a must. Your cat can use it to scratch, hide in it, and experiment with going in and out of the various holes. Make it even more interactive by tossing their favorite little toy inside and encouraging them to chase it!

Some cats love to be up high, and they will find a way to get there, even if it means kicking your knick-knacks off a shelf. If you are a cat person, and you love the idea of a cat-friendly home, then the options at Catastrophic Creations will definitely appeal to you. With cat trees, wall-mounted cat shelves, and hammocks, this company has everything you need to create a cat paradise in your own home.

DIY Pet Enrichment Gifts

Enrichment toys don’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a budget, you can make your own!

DIY Dog Enrichment Gifts

Puzzle toys are simple and quick to make. You can use a piece of PVC pipe with holes drilled in it and caps on the ends to make a fun rolling puzzle toy.

dog snuffle mat enrichment gifts

Snuffle toys are another easy DIY gift. Snuffle mats satisfy the foraging instinct and can also be used to slow a fast eater. All you will need is some fleece scraps or t-shirt material along with an item to use for a base. Canine Compilation has easy instructions on how to DIY a snuffle mat for your dog (or cat!).

DIY Cat Enrichment Toys

Cats love boxes and firmly believe “if it fits, I sits.” Combine your cat's love of climbing, with their love of boxes, and build your cat a cardboard cat castle. You can be as creative as you want. Make entrances of varying sizes, and add a cardboard cat scratch mat outside or inside. Hang dangling toys, and put blankets inside. You can get some fun ideas from this article on Excited Cats.

An easy but fun cat toy DIY is the ever-popular teaser wand. This is a great toy for interacting with your cat and getting even the chonkiest kitty some exercise. All you will need are some feathers, jingle bells, ribbon, twine, and a dowel rod. Bundle the bells and feathers, and attach some streamers of ribbon. Make sure everything is secure, and tie it to one end of the twine. Drill a small hole into the dowel and insert the other end of the twine tying securely, and it’s ready to go!

There are so many fun enrichment ideas for our pets. What have you used?


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