Giving your dog nutritious food is a great way to keep them in top health. But more than that, mealtimes can also be an opportunity to entertain and bond with them. You can add fun activities or teach your dog new tricks as part of your feeding routine. While this will benefit pups that may have lost interest in food, making mealtimes more fun can also distract fast eaters from wolfing down their food.
If your pet is uninterested or doesn’t seem to enjoy mealtimes like they used to, here are some ways you can change things up and make each feeding session exciting for your beloved pooch.
Introduce a New Mealtime Ritual
Having a routine provides a structure for your pet and helps them feel secure in their environment. One way to do that is by following a regular feeding schedule. The schedule also helps prepare your dog’s body for the food they will eat. However, doing the same thing over and over again may bore your pup and make them lose interest in eating. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you can make mealtimes more enjoyable by introducing new rituals.
You can turn on some music to signal to your pet that it’s time to eat. Once the music stops, you can give them their food bowls. This kind of pre-meal ritual can also be fun for you as the pet parent. You can bust a few moves with your dog and make it a new bonding experience for you and your precious pup.
Serve Dog Food in Puzzle Feeders
If your dog tends to gobble all their food as soon as you place their food bowl on the floor, you need to look for other options so they can slow down and avoid choking on their food. Eating slowly is also better for their digestion. An effective way to do this is with a puzzle feeder. This is a type of pet feeding bowl or tray with ridges that disperses the food all over the container. The barriers keep the dog from eating too fast and require them to put more effort to access the food. With the additional challenge, a puzzle feeder makes mealtime more interesting and exciting for your dog.
As your dog tries to access their food in a puzzle feeder, they may end up spilling some of its contents. To keep your floors clean, get customizable dog placemats to place under the pet bowls and catch all spills. Since many of these pet placemats are made from waterproof materials, you can easily wipe them clean.
Take Meals Outside
If the weather is nice, take advantage of it and feed your dog outside. In case it’s a warm day, you can even cool your dog off by giving them a homemade “pupsicle.” Simply fill an ice cube tray with water along with bits of meat or treats and freeze them. Once they’re solid, take out the frozen treats and place them on a cookie sheet. You can then let your furry friend lick and chew the ice until they reach the tasty surprise as the ice melts. This delectable treat can help your pup stay hydrated on a hot day while having fun.
Give Treat-Dispensing Toys
Apart from their regular mealtimes, you can add excitement when you give your dog treats. Aside from storing them in dog treats bags, you can let your pet do the work if they want to access some tasty treats. Put your pup’s favorite treats inside a treat-dispensing toy and let them figure out how to get the food stored inside. If it’s your dog’s first time using the toy, use strong-smelling treats so they’ll be more motivated to play with the toy. You can also mix up the food and put peanut butter or yogurt inside the toy. By using these types of toys, you provide mental stimulation for your canine pal and give them something fun to do.
Extend Training Sessions during Mealtimes
As a pet parent, it can sometimes be challenging to squeeze in training sessions when you have a busy schedule. Fortunately, you can turn each mealtime into a productive training session by adding five minutes to train or practice tricks.
Before you give their meals, ask your pup to sit and offer the paw to shake. If they obey, give them a few pieces of kibble as a reward. In case you’re training your pup to walk with their leash, teach them to stay on your left side by giving their meals in that area. Walk around your home and hand out kibble from time to time near your left leg. Soon, your pet will understand that they’ll be rewarded by staying on that side.
While your pup’s mealtimes are an essential activity, your dog may find the usual routine boring and lose interest in their food. Changing your routine and adding new activities can make mealtimes more fun for both you and your furry friend. These will also help your dog develop healthy eating habits and deepen your bond with them.
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