We ALL know a dog that just doesn't like their kibble. Sure, they'll eat it, but when they do, it's almost as if they're doing it against their will. Maybe this is your dog, or a dog you know, but either way kibble doesn't have to be boring! Whether your dog gobbles down their kibble, or eats it with disdain, this list will be great for any dog who is fed primarily on kibble!
I feed both our girls on a high quality kibble by Millie's Wolfheart (pictured below) and despite them finishing their meals as it comes, I like to make it a bit more appealing for the two of them by doing a few things with their kibble so they don't look so disappointed when I give it to them.
Let's face it: NONE of us would like to eat the same dried food day in, day out.
Below are a few things you can do to SPICE UP your dog's kibble:
1. Soak it!
Saber in particular, MUCH prefers her food when it's soaked, although she will eat it as it comes, she will LITERALLY pick it up and spit it out sometimes. However, as soon as it's had a good soaking in some boiling water, she will wolf the whole lot down. To soak your kibble, all you do is add boiling water until all the kibble is covered and then let it soak it all up. Make sure to check the temperature of the food before giving it to your dog. I normally just stick a finger in and test it that way, but whatever works for you!
2. Put it in a puzzle toy/snuffle mat/Kong toy
Puzzle toys are SO useful. They require very little effort to set up and can leave your dog entertained for a decent amount of time! Whether you serve your kibble soaked or not, just find the right puzzle toy (or get multiple!) and change it up! One day you could serve it dry in a snuffle mat, and another day you could serve it wet stuffed in a Kong toy or smushed into a Lickimat! Like other animals, dogs prefer to work for their food so making their eating routine a bit more mentally stimulating can be a huge game changer for some dogs.
One very happy customer!
3. Scatter feed your kibble
Scatter feeding literally involves throwing the treats (ideally in a foraging material like grass or a snuffle mat) and then letting your dog hunt for them. You can also throw them in a room of your house if you really like! Again, it's good mental stimulation, self calming AND gets them to use their nose - and we all know that dogs LOVE to use their noses!
4. Hide their kibble
Much like the above point, hiding their kibble rather than just scattering it around is a lot more mentally challenging to your dog. Make sure to hide the kibble in easy places to begin with, but as your dog gets good at it, you can hide it in harder places!
5. TRAIN YOUR DOG!
Of course, I couldn't forget about one of the arguably bests way to spice up your dog's kibble and it's to train with it! However, with dogs that are particularly picky, I would probably avoid this one. Generally, dogs are very reluctant to train on kibble, especially if they've tried other foods, but if your dog seems interested in the kibble and typically eats it even if served as it comes, then I would definitely give this a go. Make sure to train something easy first!
Be safe and happy training! :)
Life is absolutely crazy right now.. Never did I think I would experience anything like what we're going through now.
COVID-19 (aka. Coronavirus) has completely changed the entire world's lives in basically no time at all. I'll say it how it is: It's shit. Everything about it is shit and I just want it to be over.
Regardless, now with new UK restrictions, we can only go out for essential shopping, essential work, ONE form of exercise and essential medical needs. Although I suspect that these restrictions will be tightened even more soon.
So, what can you do to keep your dog entertained while you're at home? Well, if you're a more knowledgeable dog owner, you should know that mental stimulation is absolutely essential for the majority of dogs, regardless of whether your dog is getting their regular walks.
Almost all dogs need some sort of mental stimulation as they're growing up ESPECIALLY high energy, intelligent breeds like: Border Collies, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers etc. so really they should be getting this in ADDITION to their regular walks.
Of course, age plays a part and dogs under 18 months should refrain from any high impact jumping or continuous running but this still doesn't mean you can't tire them out by doing activities in your own home.
Below is a list of EASY activities that you can set up for your dog to give them this much needed mental stimulation
1. Put their regular meals into a puzzle feeder/Kong/Lickimat/snuffle mat.
Putting your dog's regular meals into a puzzle toy will mean that they have to WORK for their food, which provides good mental stimulation. Just search "dog puzzle toy" in Google or Amazon and you will see a good range of puzzle toys available. It doesn't matter if your dog eats kibble or wet food (or a mix of both) either, because you can just get a puzzle toy that works with whatever food they're given. I would recommend a Kong or a Lickimat for dogs who are fed only on wet/raw food.
Some of the dog food toys I have for the girls.
2. Scatter feed their regular meals or treats.
If your dog is on dry food only, then you can literally just throw their kibble into the grass in your garden or hide them (in easy spots) in any room of your house. Heck. You could scatter feed treats in all different rooms of your house if you really wanted to! If your dog is on wet food, then you could just scatter dry treats instead. Unless your dog is FORMIDABLE at findie treats, I wouldn't recommend scattering anything that could go off. Finding a mouldy bit of cheese or meat would be gross. Scattering food or treats, again, means that your dog has to work for its food by foraging which doesn't just provide mental stimulation, but it's calming for your dog too!
Gotta find the treats!
3. TRAIN YOUR DOG!
I mean, this one should be obvious. Training your dog causes your dog to use their brain, which, if you've ever sat down and done a hard maths sum or equivalent, then it really does tire you out! There are a good range of videos online that you can watch for ideas and guidance on training your dog.
I would highly recommend these YouTube Channels:
Gundog training with Honey!
4. Stuff a Kong toy with something tasty!
Kong toys are great for providing mental stimulation to your dog without you having to do barely anything. You just prepare the Kong, give it to your dog and you're done!
To make dog Kong popsicles:
1. Make some weak gravy and then pour it into the Kong (add some treats in there too to make it even more exciting).
2. Chuck it in the freezer.
3. Once frozen, give to your dog.
You can do this with normal popsicle moulds, as long as you don't mind using them for dog enrichment!
Some Kong popsicles I began preparing earlier!
5. Walk your dog the RIGHT way
Wait, what?! There's a wrong way to walk your dog? Ehh... kinda. A lot of dog owners are EXTREMELY passive when they walk their dogs. It's no wonder why dogs then find ways to entertain themselves on their walks.. Much to the dismay of their owners.
So on your next dog walk, I challenge you to encourage your dog to ENGAGE with you. Play fetch or tug with your dog, reward them for every time they "check in" with you or just have a good run around with them. Either way, do SOMETHING with them so that they spend some of their walk paying attention to you rather than the environment.
Be safe and happy training! :)