Ditch. That. Bowl. When you get a pet, you buy a collar, maybe a leash, a few toys, and a food bowl. That’s just what you do. But have you stopped to think about what benefits that bowl actually serves your pet? Yes, it gives them a place to consume vital sustenance, but it stops there. The use of food bowls has become a commonplace, disservice to our pets, and we need to challenge that.
Food enrichment, and food enrichment toys, are often thought of as an added ‘bonus treat’ in the day. And while that’s fine, why aren’t these used for our pet’s regular meals? It would likely only take a few seconds longer to put your pet’s dinner in a snuffle mat, rather than a regular food bowl. This simple swap, or the additional few seconds it takes to organize this, may seem insignificant to you, but it can make a huge impact on your pet’s quality of life.
Food enrichment is also great for pets that are seemingly uninterested in food. Think of it this way. If your bank account never ran out of money, you’d likely be less motivated or interested in money, right? The same can happen with pets and food. The systematic refilling of the bowl whenever it gets low can create disinterest and complacency. Now, please don’t think I am telling you to starve your pet so they learn the value of food. That is not what I am saying. What I am saying is by adding variation to the way your pet consumes their meals can begin to give them different feelings towards the once uninteresting food.
By altering the way our pets get their food, they are thinking, learning, problem-solving, releasing energy, self-soothing, and having fun! They are engaging centers in their brain that deteriorate with age. You are literally keeping your pet young by feeding them out of a muffin tin! Everyone wants the best for their pet, and ditching the food bowl is part of that. If the thought of this overwhelms you, I challenge you to choose one meal a week to feed your pet out of something other than a food bowl. If that feels easy, try adding in another day. But for right now, just try one meal a week and see the difference it makes in your pet. If you need more ideas on Food Enrichment, click here to learn more!