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Pet Owner Hacks: Update

December 5, 2017

A few months ago, I wrote this post about pet owner hacks, and it’s time for an update!

We often recommend food dispensing toys or puzzles to add enrichment to mealtime and to slow too-fast eaters. Natasha clued us in about a great product for this purpose called a “snuffle mat.”  A snuffle mat is a puzzle toy made of strips of fleece tied through a rubber backing with holes. Using the mat to feed meals or treats provides your pet with an opportunity to sniff and “hunt” for food.

Here is a video on making a snuffle mat; or, you can find pre-made mats on sites like Etsy.

Along the same lines, Kristen pointed me towards a great video for DIY dog toys using a variety of household items, here:

Kristen’s video reminded me of one of my own favorite homemade dog toy hacks: Any of you knitters or crocheters out there who have some leftover wool yarn in your stash, make a simple long scarf and felt it (I just throw it in a load of hot-water laundry since I don’t need it to be pretty or perfect) to end up with a very durable tug toy!  My dogs seem to enjoy the texture and odor of the felted wool, and they hold up well to chewing.

Another treat-dispensing hack comes from Kate, whose cats don’t like other treat dispensing toys. She uses an ice cube tray to keep her cats busy working for their treats. For larger dogs (or dogs who might chew the tray), I think you could use a muffin tin the same way.

Laura uses music to help soothe her cats on car trips. Specifically, they seem to be Willie Nelson fans! They consistently stop crying when Willie Nelson songs play, but not songs by other artists like Johnny Cash.  We know that how we perceive certain sounds can have psychologic and physiologic effects on our bodies and brains (read about psychoacoustics for more information), so it’s very possible that there’s something calming about Willie. I’d love to hear feedback from anyone else who gives him a try!

Thanks for all the tips, and feel free to keep them coming! Post them on the link to this post on our Facebook page and I’ll periodically update with more ideas.

Karen Christopherson DVM

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