Schertz Animal Hospital’s Blog
Beyond the Bored Pet: The Case for Environmental Enrichment
Just like us, animals require activities that keep them mentally and physically active. Though we often treat them like little humans, our pets are still driven by behaviors that are instinctual and important to their well-being.
When we notice a bored pet, this often means he or she is experiencing a deprivation of some kind. It may be not enough time with their people, lack of exercise, or an inability to fulfill certain behavioral needs.
So, what role does environmental enrichment play in the health of our pets? Let’s find out!
Mental and Physical Enrichment for Pets
All pets, from the tallest to the smallest, need physical activity and stimulation through exercise, socialization, and – for lack of a better word – tasks. Specific needs vary from species to species, but we’ll focus on canines, felines, and small mammals.
Dogs are very social pack animals who rely on others for security and learning, yet so many canines spent 8 or more hours a day lying around the home, waiting for us to return. This can often result in problem behaviors, such as escape, chewing, scratching, and chronic barking.
Depending on the breed of the dog, some require much more activity (think sporting or working breeds) and opportunities to perform tasks they were bred for, like herding. Even if your dog is a loveable mutt, he or she needs exercise and socialization.
To incorporate enrichment into your dog’s day, try the following:
- Schedule 20-30 minute dog walks before you leave and when you return home.
- Enlist the participation of family members with daily games, such as fetch.
- Provide plenty of challenging toys, such as a Kong, for solo playtime.
- Consider getting the help of a dog walker or signing your dog up for doggie daycare.
- Teach your dog fun tricks or provide agility training for an ideal method of canine behavioral enrichment.
Cats need mental and physical enrichment? You bet they do! Although felines are often perceived as independent and aloof, requiring less social time than dogs, cats definitely need interaction and playtime.
These aerodynamic pets are meant to move. Without opportunities to express these behaviors, cats can become anxious, resulting in litter box woes or bald spots from compulsive grooming. To keep your cat happy, try providing the following:
- Lots of easy-to-pounce toys, like catnip-filled mice
- Places to climb and hide (cat trees with sleeping cubbies and platforms are great!)
- A playmate or two, if your cat enjoys meow pals
- Plenty of interaction with you (laser pointer games, feather chase, etc.)
These furry companions, often called pocket pets, are confined to small cages most of their life, so it’s imperative to keep them mentally and physically engaged. Consider the following:
- Things to chew on
- Places to hide
- Ramps and other places for climbing
- Swings or hammocks (ferrets love these!)
- Other friends
Many small mammals, like rabbits and ferrets, can be house-trained. This allows them to spend time out of the cage for greater movement and supervised fun.
A Bored Pet No More
All pets require attention and understanding of their unique behaviors and instincts. The more you understand your pet, the better you’re able to provide stimuli that matches their specific needs and interests.
Please contact the team at Schertz Animal Hospital with any additional questions or concerns.
Awesome, caring, sympathetic and pets are Number One! — D.O
I LOVE Dr. Mossberg. He and the staff are Amazing and SOOO CARING! They are the BEST — M. Lerma
Dr. Mossburg is WONDERFUL! He is so patient! Answers all my questions. I don't feel rushed. He is just so awesome with our Sophie! — S. Cobarruvias
This is the only place I trust with my girl. They always take great care of my Yorkie. — A Byrd
We can't say enough about Schertz Animal Hospital. Dr. Rodriguez and the whole staff are wonderful and so caring. — P. Ring
This is a wonderful animal hospital. Will highly recommend them for anyone who loves and cares about their pets. — B. Lewis
Have taken our pets there for years. Dr. R. Is the best. We appreciate him and the rest of his hard working staff. — C. Yeary
These are our first pets and first ever Vet visit. We are very pleased with the attention, knowledge, and quality of care. Very pleased with our decision!. — J. Tibbetts
We love the care the staff provides, they are big enough to provide services without having to wait long for an appointment, but still make you feel like family. Love this place. — T. Ha
Took my cat in today on an emergency basis and they were so helpful and kind. They have done what they can for him. I have a dog too and this is the only place I will be taking her to. Best vet we have ever been too. — L. Hamilton
Exceptional customer service and great care of my Sammy! Dr. Rodriguez "Dr. R" is the BEST! — A. Garcia
We absolutely love Schertz Animal Hospital for our puppy! They are so caring and take good care of our Bella. — P. Willard
The entire staff is friendly to me and my Bradley. I feel that my Bradley is in good hands. — A. Cano
Love Schertz Animal Hospital. The staff are all friendly and helpful. Dr. Mossburg is thorough and caring. We have taken 3 of our rescues there. Most recently our 7 year old Rottweiler we rescued. They have always taken excellent care of them. — A. Peterson
Schertz Animal Hospital really cares about your pet. They know their stuff. They been in Schertz for many years. All the doctors really know how to relate to us as they are pet owners too. I highly recommend them for all your Veterinary needs. You won't be sorry. SAH thank you for taking such great care of my Service Dog. — K. Duchess
Schertz Animal Hospital is a group of some of the most selfless people. They have been so attentive and caring to my pups, literally dropping everything to care for their needs. I am blessed and ever so grateful to have this team a part of my little family's life. Alley and Noah looooove you all! Y'all are the bomb dot com! Keep on keepin' on ladies and gents! — A.H
Dr. Mossberg and his assistant, Terri, are outstanding! Rusty can be difficult and they are so patient and kind. My husband and I really appreciate that they go the extra mile! Thank you!!! — T. & M. Taylor
I am totally satisfied with the practices, procedures, and service currently in place and have no recommendation for improvement. — R. Schutte
The front staff are awesome and have great attitudes. Very friendly and approachable. — R. & D. Carter
This is the one place that I feel completely safe with taking my Jasmine too. All of you take good care of her. Thank you. — C. & J. Smith
I appreciate being able to walk in (I did call first) with no appt. The doctor was booked but he still took care of my pet. Kudos to Dr. Rodriguez!! — S. & C. Mag
You are doing everything super good!!! Keep it up!!!! — W. Williams
I have never had a vet office that treats its patients so well, and throughly explains all diagnosis and possible treatment. I have always bragged on this office and will continue to do so. — M. & N. Heller
Always professional, clean atmosphere. — J. Wilson
Love how Dr Rodriguez has a passion for what he does - it makes a huge difference! The staff is friendly and caring - thank you. — Anonymous
Very nice facility that is well kept up. Whenever one of my pets needs medical care,I know I can rely on Schertz Animal Hospital to provide excellent care. — D. & R. Lanier
Dr. Rodriguez and his staff are always pleasant, caring and I feel very confident in the care given to all of our pets! :) — M. & J. Hild