Animal Day Ingenuity Entertains The Dogs

Erica with the IFAW blankets

Supporters at Cheltenham Firm DMS recently donated a large number of fleece blankets to help us keep the animals warm through the winter. The blankets were originally for one of their clients, IFAW, who kindly agreed that they should be put to good use once they weren’t needed any more.  The animals have been loving them but our Education Team have also put a couple to an ingenious new use…

As part of the Animal Days we offer for children during the school holidays, we always have a craft activity. In the past we have created treat tubes for small animals or catnip toys to drive the cats wild. This half-term though the kids have been working on something special for the dogs. Using strips of material and some cut up floor matting they are able to make snuffle mats, brilliant feeding toys to keep the dogs entertained in their kennels.

Modelling the finished snuffle mats

The children have been weaving and tying, choosing the brightest colours and making each mat different, ready for their favourite pooch. Once finished, the mats are placed in kennels and sprinkled with dry food or treats before the dogs get to search them out. Treats get lost in among the weaves so the dogs are using their noses and brains as well as mouths to feed, and it’s this kind of mental stimulation that we use regularly to reduce kennel stress and make meal times more interactive.

Education Officer Erica said “the kids really enjoyed this project, it was much more colourful and tactile than working with toilet rolls! The snuffle mats are really popular with the dogs and some of the children will be making their own at home for their pets.”

Barley enjoys treat time with his new snuffle mat