With the Back-to-School season upon us, our pets need something to keep them engaged while we are away from the house. Have you ever considered what you could do to help keep your dog and/or cat busy while at work or school? If not, we thought it would be fun to discuss some different ways you could keep your dog and/or cat mentally and physically engaged during the day.

Engagement for Dogs

For Dogs, there are a few different ways to provide enrichment. One way is through food, treats, or activity. Please see the list below for ideas on each topic depending on your individual dogs personality.  

Food options

  1. Classic Kong toy
    1. Freeze a mixture of:
      1. Wet food and dry kibble
        1. Great for puppies that need additional calories while growing.
      2. Peanut butter and yogurt (plain, no sugar added)
        1. Limit the amount of Peanut Butter by adding more yogurt
      3. Other treats that your dog might like to freeze in a Kong:
          1. Frozen blueberries with yogurt
          2. Pumpkin Puree or Sweet Potato Puree with a few treats or kibble
  2. Treat puzzles
    1. Make your own puzzle using a muffin pan, tennis balls, and treats
    2. Purchase an interactive puzzle
  3. Hiding treats around the house

Dental chews

  1. Natural options:
    1. Cow or Pig ears
    2. Hooves or Horns
    3. Antlers
    4. Bully sticks
    5. Himalayan Yak Chew
  2. Alternative options:
    1. Benebones
    2. Bark bones
  3. Dental toys:
    1. PetSafe Busy Buddy


    1. Interactive
      1. Ball Launcher
      2. Treat launcher
    2. Rotation
      1. Dogs can become bored with the same toys laying around or in their basket. It has been found that if you only offer a few toys at a time that they will play with them similar to a new toy. Make sure that the other toys are completely away from the dog. Some dogs might figure this trick out after a few times, but then you can really add in a new toy to the mix and they will love it.
      2. Try a different textured toy. There are so many options available now (Examples: leather, firehouse material, sisal, rubber, soft & plush, without plush, etc.). If you have never introduced one of their materials or textures, that would be a great way to keep your dog mentally engaged.  

Engagement for Cats

For cats, it might be a little more challenging because we all know that they like to sleep during the day. Therefore, it might take a little more creativity to keep cats engaged while you’re away. Here are a few options to consider for your feline friends.


  1. Interactive
    1. Motion toys (some are battery operated)
    2. Kitty Connection has a ball launcher for cats if you have one that likes to fetch.
    3. String wigglers
    4. Suction cup feathers and strings
    5. Lasers with a timer
  2. Rotation of toys
    1. Cats, like dogs, get bored with some toys if they have been laying around for a while. If you put out only 5 or so a week, they will think they are getting new toys to play with.
    2. Marinating the toys while they are not being used is another way to make them seem like newer toys.


    1. If your cat needs to loose some weight, it is a good idea to hide their food around the house. This will make them walk around the house looking for food getting in a few extra steps. You can change the location each day so that they don’t get used to the same spot. This might not work if you have multiple cats or other animals in the household.  
    2. There are treat balls that cats can play with in order to get a treat. This is a good enrichment activity for any cat. They are challenged mentally and physically with this toy.

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