Think about what your pet does while you are at work. They may snooze peacefully, gaze longingly out the window, or destroy everything within paw’s reach! When home alone, your pet may become bored, which can manifest as inappropriate behaviors such as destruction, excessive vocalization, inappropriate elimination, overgrooming, irritability, and more. To keep your furry pal busy when they are alone—or when foul weather keeps both you indoors—learn to craft pet enrichment toys. If you need some inspiration, read our WesVet Animal Hospital team’s guide to do-it-yourself (DIY) pet enrichment toys. 

Toy name: The Snuffle Shuffle

Toy description: Pet owners adore snuffle mats because they can provide a great deal of entertainment, encouraging cats and dogs to sniff for food and treats. Rather than forking over cash for a snuffle mat, design your own using household items.

Species: Cat and dog

Supplies: Fabric scraps or old T-shirts and towels, paper, cardboard tubes, cardboard box or plastic tote, food or treats

Design instructions: Determine which materials you would like to use for your snuffle box, or use all three—fabric, paper, and cardboard. Cut or rip your fabric or paper into squares that correlate to your pet’s size. Small pets do well with 5-inch squares, while larger pets may need squares up to 8 inches. In the center of some of the squares, place a couple pieces of food or treats. Loosely wad up each separate square to cover the food and stack them in the box. If you are using cardboard tubes, stand them upright in the box and drop a couple pieces of kibble down random tubes. Put the box in front of your pet and encourage them to nose or paw their way through the treat holders to snag their snacks.

Toy name: Muffin Tin Treats

Toy description: If you aren’t feeling crafty, this toy is simple to put together, and requires no scissors, glue, or other art supplies. This game can also be used for pets who eat too fast, forcing them to slow down and savor their meal.

Species: Cat and dog

Supplies: Mini- or full-sized muffin tin, balls that fit in the muffin tin’s wells, food or treats

Design instructions: Drop a couple of treats or kibble pieces in some of the muffin tin wells, making one well a big jackpot filled with a handful of snacks. By leaving a few wells empty, you encourage your pet to work harder and remain interested, similar to how gambling affects a person’s mindset. Place a ball in each muffin tin well, and show your pet how to scoop out a ball to reach the food. After you demonstrate, let your pet have at it!


Toy name: Stuffed Animal Surprise

Toy description: This is the perfect toy for a dog who loves to shred stuffed animals. However,  only offer your pet this toy if you know they will not ingest fabric scraps. Monitor your dog closely while they play with this toy.

Species: Dog

Supplies: An old stuffed toy, treats

Design instructions: Remove all the stuffing from inside the toy and any dangling strings or fabric. Cut a few small holes—large enough for treats to fall out—in the toy. Stuff a handful of treats inside the toy, and toss it to your dog. They will shake, throw, and snuffle their toy in an attempt to reach the treats inside.


Toy name: Reverse Whack-A-Mole

Toy description: Rather than having your cat bat at mice and moles that pop out of holes, in this game your feline friend sticks their paw in a hole to poke at the toys and treats within.

Species: Cat

Supplies: Cardboard or plastic box, treats, small cat toys

Design instructions: On one side of the box, cut small circles—just large enough for your cat to stick their paw through and pull out a toy. To prevent your cat from irritating or injuring their paw, ensure each hole’s edges are smooth. Place several treats and a couple of small toys inside. A catnip mouse or spray makes the game extra appealing. You are sure to enjoy watching your cat poke their paw through a hole to bat at the objects within or to scoop out toys and treats.


If your pet lacks adequate mental enrichment, they may become bored, developing problem behaviors that can progress into serious health issues. If your furry pal starts overgrooming, urinating in inappropriate spots, or engaging in destructive behavior, such as chewing everything they can get their jaws on, contact our WesVet Animal Hospital team for an appointment.