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Rain, Rain, Go Away: Low-Budget Enrichment Ideas & Recipes for Bad Weather

Admit it, we are all feeling the rainy weather lately. While some dogs don’t mind a wet walk, some dogs have no interest in dipping their toes in a puddle. 15 minutes of mental stimulation is the equivalent of a 30 minute outdoor walk! Check out some of the enrichment ideas below to give your dog something to do while we wait out the coming rain:

Low-Budget Indoor Enrichment Ideas:

DIY Puzzle Toys: Create fun and mentally stimulating puzzle toys using old cardboard boxes or containers. Cut holes in the boxes and hide treats inside, encouraging your dogs to figure out how to get to the goodies. If you don’t have any free boxes, you can also use a regular towel and sprinkle their food or some treats throughout it, then roll it up and tie it in a knot. 

Snuffle Mat or Ball: Grab some old clothes, buy a couple yards of your dogs’ favorite color of fleece from a craft store, or thrift an old fleece blanket to cut up. You can use a few types of different bases, but a cheap sink mat from the dollar store (one with holes) works great for this. If you want to make a ball, grab some zip ties. Once made, throw some small treats or event their dinner in it and watch them enjoy the challenge! Step by step snuffle mat instructions here. Step-by-step snuffle ball instructions here. 

Tug-of-War with Old Clothes: Gather some old clothes, tie them together, and create a sturdy tug-of-war toy. This is a great way for your dogs to burn off excess energy while interacting with you.

Training: Teach your pup a new command or trick! This provides mental stimulation and is great for the next time you have visitors over and want to show off how smart your dog is. 

Delicious and Low-Cost Recipes

These recipe is great for beating the rain, and to cool your pup down on hot days!

PB & Banana Popsicles:

  1. Mix unsalted, natural peanut butter (no xylitol!) with mashed, ripe bananas.
  2. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays or silicone treat molds.
  3. Insert a small rawhide stick or dog treat as the popsicle stick.
  4. Freeze until solid, and serve to your delighted pups.

Yogurt & Berry Ice Cream:

  1. Combine plain, unsweetened yogurt with fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries).
  2. Blend the mixture until smooth and pour into molds or ice cube trays.
  3. Freeze until solid, and watch your dogs savor the creamy goodness.

Chicken Broth & Carrot Pupsicles:

  1. Dilute low-sodium chicken broth with water.
  2. Add small pieces of chopped carrot to the mixture.
  3. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
  4. This savory treat will be a hit on hot days!

Enrichment Bowl:

  1. Grab a bowl – stainless steel works best but plastic is OK too! (Hard mode – do the same steps with a slow feeder bowl!)
  2. Spread the edges and bottom with a little xylitol free peanut butter
  3. Stick food and treats to the peanut butter
  4. You can stop there – or to make it harder you can fill the bowl about 1/2 way with water or chicken broth and put in the freezer!

Remember, a happy and healthy dog is a joy to be around, and your efforts to keep them safe and engaged will be rewarded with boundless love and affection. Use these enrichment ideas year round as a way to keep your pup stimulated and out of trouble! Stay creative and have a blast making lasting memories with your four-legged companions!


(Note: Always be mindful of your dog’s individual dietary restrictions and health conditions when making treats.)

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