Animal Care and Enrichment Program at Great Plains SPCA!
The work done by our Animal Care Team is one of the most critical components of our lifesaving mission; their compassionate care allows us to successfully shelter animals from the time of intake to the day they find their forever home.
Although a large part of their job is making sure all basic needs are met, the Animal Care Team does much more than just feeding and cleaning. Their daily routine includes providing exercise, enrichment, socialization and even training!
Animal Enrichment Program
Enrichment is a crucial aspect of our animal husbandry program, allowing us to provide mental and physical stimulation for the animals while they are in our care.
Enrichment is important because any shelter environment can cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to behavioral issues and decreased quality of life. We use everyday items to provide new experiences for our animals, giving them an outlet for their stress and any frustrations.
Household items such as paper lunch bags, cardboard boxes and newspaper can be used with treats and peanut butter to make enrichment for dogs. Treats can be wrapped inside newspaper or placed in the bottom of the box. Toys and other dog-safe items can be placed inside as well. Once full, the box can be given to a dog to explore and play with. These are especially great for our shredders and foragers!
Cat enrichment is also broad and varied, using a lot of the same common items as dog enrichment! A toilet paper roll can be used as a treat puzzle just by filling with treats or kibble, cutting a small hole into it and pinching the ends shut. We also use positive reinforcement or clicker training with our cats to make them more comfortable in their environment, elicit socialization from people, and as an outlet for physical and mental stimulation. This is great for shy and active cats alike!
Types of Enrichment Activities for Dogs & Cats:
- “Pupsicles” made for dogs or cats by freezing wet food, kibble, treats, etc. in an ice cube tray.
- Scents can be sprayed in a room or on a toy. Scents vary from animal scents (raccoon, deer, etc.) to calming lavender!
- Kongs are a super common item and can be made for dogs or cats. They are often filled with peanut butter and other treats.
- Bubbles can be used for dogs or cats and serve as great visual enrichment.
- Agility is a great physical and mental outlet for dogs.
- Calming music can be used for both dogs and cats to ease their stresses.
Want to show your support for our Animal Care Program?
Donate frequently used Enrichment Items!
- Dog and cat treats
- Cardboard boxes
- Paper lunch bags