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  • Writer's pictureCody Shepherd

Enhancing Mealtime for Your Furry Companion: Innovative Feeding Techniques for a Healthier, Happier

Do you ever feel like your pup's meal times are just a missed opportunity? You might think this sounds harsh, but trust me, by the end of this article, you'll see what I mean. Our furry friends are natural hunters and foragers, with their DNA designed to engage all their senses when searching for food. Yet, most pets today never have to hunt for their meals as we, their owners, take care of them. Our goal is to provide a safe, secure, loving, and nurturing environment, yet we may not be doing our best when it comes to feeding time. So why do I think we're falling short? Let's explore this further.


Nourishing the Bond:

I choose to share my life with my pups because they bring purpose, companionship, and excitement to my life. They are better friends to me than many of my two-legged acquaintances. Nourishing my bond with them goes beyond just placing food bowls in front of them twice a day. Interacting with them, showing affection, and taking the time to engage in activities together is what strengthens our relationship. These efforts may require more effort, but the reward of a close and meaningful bond is well worth it.


Nourishing the Mind:

Our furry friends are often underestimated in terms of their intelligence, but those who have spent time with dogs know just how smart they can be. I was amazed to see a video of a street dog in Asia who was able to pick up loose change from the ground, walk over to a hotdog vendor, pay for a hotdog, and then enjoy his meal. This was all done by a stray dog without any training or instruction. It just goes to show that when faced with challenges, dogs have the ability to use their problem-solving skills and intelligence to find solutions. By providing engaging mealtime activities for our pups, we have the opportunity to strengthen their neural connections and tap into their full potential. Let's strive to do better for our furry friends and provide them with the mental stimulation they deserve.


Nourishing the Soul:

Gone are the days of leaving food out all day for our beloved furry friends. Scheduling and portioning meals is a great way to improve their health and behavior, but why stop there? Let's elevate mealtime by making it an engaging experience for our pups. Instead of just using a bowl and a single command, let's challenge them and add purpose to each meal. Working for their food will not only provide mental stimulation, but also increase their satisfaction with the reward. Let's give our pups a fulfilling and meaningful mealtime experience.


Embracing Change for a Better Mealtime Experience

It's okay if you don't agree with everything that's been said. What truly matters is your desire to make your pup's life better. And that's what's truly remarkable. You're taking the time to seek out new ideas and strategies, and that's what sets you apart as a loving and responsible pet owner. So, let's make a change and ditch the traditional feeding dish. By doing so, you'll be providing your pup with a more meaningful mealtime experience that will engage their minds and bodies, promoting physical and mental well-being.


Snuffle Mats: A Game Changer for Mealtime

Snuffle mats are a great way to make mealtime more engaging for your pup. Not only do they slow down the feeding process, but they also require your pup to "forage" for their food, forcing them to think and engage their brain. They are also easy to make or buy and are a hit among pet owners.


Kongs: A Fun and Engaging Feeding Option

Kongs are another excellent tool for feeding time. They can be filled with your pup's food and "plugged" with peanut butter, making them a fun and engaging way for your pup to eat. There are many creative ideas online for how to best use a Kong for feeding a meal.


NILF: A Training Opportunity During Mealtime

The NILF (Nothing in Life is Free) concept is a great way to incorporate training into mealtime. Each meal becomes an opportunity for your pup to work for their food. If your pup gets one cup of kibble per meal, you could use each meal as a quick training session. Ask your pup to perform a behavior they know and reward them with a portion of their dinner. Repeat this process until the entire meal is finished.


Wild Foragers: Letting Your Pup be a Dog

Wild Foragers is a fun game to play with your pup that's also great for when you're short on time. Simply take your pup's meal to the backyard and scatter it in a wide sweeping motion on a clean area of the lawn. Let your pup forage for their meal, engaging their nose and allowing them to act like a dog.


Here are a few other feeding techniques for dogs:


  1. Puzzle Feeders: These are interactive toys that dispense food as the dog plays with them. They encourage problem-solving and cognitive stimulation.

  2. Slow Feeders: These are dishes designed to slow down the eating process, preventing overeating and promoting healthy digestion.

  3. Hand Feeding: Instead of using a bowl, try hand-feeding your dog their meals. This can help establish trust and bonding, and can also make mealtime more interactive.

  4. Mealtime Training: Use mealtime as an opportunity to train and reinforce behaviors, by asking your dog to perform specific commands before receiving their food.

  5. Homemade Treats: Consider making your own dog treats, using healthy ingredients, and providing them as part of your dog's diet. This can help with portion control and also add variety to their meals.


Each dog is unique, and you may need to try several different techniques before finding the one that works best for your pup.


As a fellow animal lover, I understand the importance of providing our furry friends with the best possible care. Whether you choose to implement these feeding techniques or explore others, the most important thing is that you are making a conscious effort to improve your pup's well-being. Remember, every small change you make can have a big impact, and your unwavering love and dedication to your pup is what makes you a truly remarkable pet owner. Keep up the good work and don't be afraid to ask for help or advice when needed. You've got this!

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