9th January 2024

What is Environmental Enrichment?

Environmental enrichment is a topic that is widely studied in captive animals and can be easily applied to our companion animals as well. Environmental enrichment aims to enhance an animal’s life by increasing the number of positive interactions they have with the space around them. This boosts their mental and physical health, and reduces boredom and frustration.

The idea of environmental enrichment is to allow an animal to perform natural behaviours in a safe and productive way. They develop problem solving skills, gain resilience and have those wonderful memories of success that boost their motivation to try again next time.

Enrichment can be either active or passive, meaning that the animal can interact with the enrichment to access the benefits, or can feel the rewards purely by being around the item. It is important to know that when your pet is engaging in active enrichment, they may wander off and have a nap after about 10 minutes of work. This is normal and means your enrichment is working well to exercise their mind and relax them.

The benefits of environmental enrichment for our anxious animals is even greater. By experiencing little novelties in the safety of their own home, these animals learn to adapt to change. They are better able to handle new situations and adjust faster to new surroundings.

The following series of articles will provide you with a list that is by no means exhaustive but can give you a starting block from which you can build the perfect space for your pet to thrive.