10 February 2022
When it comes to showing our love for our dogs, one of our favourite ways is to treat them with tasty treats! Most dogs love food, and we love giving it to them almost as much as they enjoy eating it!
But sometimes we must stop giving food treats. Perhaps our dog’s on a special diet, or needing to watch their waistline, so how can we still ‘treat’ them and show our love, without using food?
While it can seem that the way to our dog’s happiness is through their stomach, in truth, one of their very favourite things is spending time with us, doing fun activities with their best friends - their owners.
Go on some new adventures! Dogs love to sniff and explore; taking a different path or changing direction from your usual route is an exciting new adventure with loads of new smells to investigate.
Playdates - how about meeting up with some canine friends?
Games - what’s is your dog’s favourite game? Is it tug of war, fetch or learning a new trick?
Skills - have you thought about training your dog to do scent-work, agility, obedience or another skill at special classes? This is a great way for them to use their bodies and minds and have a social life, too!
How about hide and seek, but instead of hiding food, try hiding yourself or a favourite toy? Give their noses a workout - you can play this indoors or outdoors, let them sniff out their prized possession, and enjoy how happy they are when they find it.
To make it more challenging for them and get them thinking, hide the toy under a box or blanket, up high or down low - the more inventive you get, the more challenging and fun it can be!
Bonding in quiet times
If your pet has to rest and cannot run around, how about some quality time together?
Do not underestimate the positive benefits and power of touch, a nice relaxing brush and groom. They will really enjoy quality one-on-one time with you with lots of love and fuss, tummy tickles, scratches, or even a nice therapeutic massage.
For the fanatical foodies
If none of this inspires your pet, and they really only enjoy food treats, then try using some low-calorie alternatives such as safe fruit or vegetables or feed a portion of their normal daily ration with interactive puzzle feeders, lick mats, snuffle mats, etc. This way, they can still have treats but are not adding lots of extra calories, and it’s a great idea for pets on a special diet.