Raw Fed Enrichment: keeping raw fed pets busy

Raw Fed Enrichment

By Tori Peterson

 My dog Nikita getting a treat after completing a trick

My dog Nikita getting a treat after completing a trick

When dogs are bored, they try to find their own fun. This can lead to attention getting behaviors such as barking and jumping, destructive behaviors such as chewing and counter surfing, or various other ways that they may attempt to relieve their boredom or stress. There are different ways to combat canine boredom. The dog’s undesirable behaviors can help you choose which type enrichment your dog needs. A lot of these products and techniques are catered towards kibble fed dogs, so I will be giving tips for how to swap out kibble and processed foods and treats for more natural options.

Puzzle Toys

 Primal Freeze-Dried Duck in a Nina Ottosson Brick puzzle

Primal Freeze-Dried Duck in a Nina Ottosson Brick puzzle

There are tons of different options on the market that require different skill levels. These toys encourage the dog to use their brains and noses to figure out where the treats are hidden. They are great for dogs who are “looking for trouble.” The dogs who slink into a room and get into food items, get on the table/counter, or always sniff around.

For the puzzles that have treat wells. I fill the wells with one of the options below and then freeze it. Freezing the puzzle makes it last longer which keeps them busier longer. You can also use the treats in the training section below in the puzzles as well.

  • Raw goat milk
  • Organ purees
  • Freeze-dried meats (rehydrated)
  • Coconut oil
  • Raw egg
  • Golden paste (turmeric and coconut oil)
  • Kefir
  • Bone broth
  • Fruit/ veggie purees
  • Raw grind

Puzzle Toys:

Nina Ottosson Brick

Nina Ottosson Tornado

 

Treat Dispensing Toys

 Nikita with her Kruuse Buster Cube filled with Vital Essentials Tripe nibs 

Nikita with her Kruuse Buster Cube filled with Vital Essentials Tripe nibs 

These toys involve the dog interacting with them in a way that causes the toy to dispense treats. Some need to be pushed around, while others wobble back and forth. These may seem to be specifically designed for kibble, but there are a couple great alternatives.

Treat Dispensing Toys

Kibble Nibble
Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom Meal Dispensing Toy
Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal Dispensing Toy
KONG Wobbler
Kruuse Buster Cube

Hollow Toys

These toys, such as a Kong, give the dog something to chew while they try to figure out how to get the treats out. As with the other options, I recommend freezing for added enrichment.

Fillings:

  • Kefir
  • Raw grind
  • Freeze-dried meat (rehydrated)
  • Plain yogurt
  • Green tripe
  • Sardines (in water, without salt)
  • Raw egg
  • Organ puree

Busy Buddy Squirrel Dude
Busy Buddy OOGA

KONG Classic - Red - for regular chewers
KONG Classic - Black - for tough chewers

 

Chews and Bones

These are great for dogs who chew things that they are not supposed to. By giving them the chews below, they are able to exercise their jaws on something appropriate. I keep these items frozen as well so it takes them longer. All bones and necks need to be fed raw, as cooked bones splinter, which can injure your dog.

  • Chicken, duck, or turkey necks (depending on the size of your dog)
  • Bully sticks
  • Raw marrow bones
  • Pig ears
  • Beef tendons
  • Knuckle bones

 

Training

 Nikita and I during a training session

Nikita and I during a training session

Doing a training session can help to decrease boredom and tire your dog out. Obedience, tricks, or fitness exercises are a great way to interact with your dog while they burn some energy. Treats should be small so that the dog doesn’t become obese.  

Treat Brands:

  • Ziwi Peak
  • Orijen
  • Stewart Freeze-Dried Treats
  • Vital Essentials
  • Grizzly Super Treats Oven Baked Crunchy Training Treats  
  • Primal
  • Sojos Simply
  • Bravo
  • If you like to buy local, Dolce & Ardesia Yummy Treats

As with all toys, dogs should be supervised when using them. These forms of enrichment provide a great way for your pet to tire their mind, which helps to prevent them from doing undesirable behaviors. I provide multiple types during the day to keep my dog busy and out of trouble.