Written by Patricia Larson, LVT Working to create a diverse, fun, and enriching habitat is not only enjoyable for you; it also gives your furry friend a thriving life full of enrichment! In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make your pet’s habitat interesting and engaging on a daily basis.
Why Take Time to Diversify Your Pet’s Habitat?
The most important and compelling reason to create diversity in your pet’s environment is to provide them with additional sources of mental and physical stimulation. This helps alleviate stress and boredom as well as encourages exercise and socialization.
Like us, our furry friends can stagnate if they get stuck in the same old routine day after day. Stagnation leads to boredom or even depression and lethargy.
Find Inspiration From Your Favorite Zoo
For a real-life example of the importance of providing a diversity of enrichment, take a look at your local zoo. Zoos work hard to provide enrichment to their animals every day in a variety of ways. It’s just as important (and enjoyable) for you to thoughtfully diversify your pet’s habitat.
Benefits of Creating a Diverse Habitat Include:
- Reduces stress
- Provides mental and physical stimulation
- Encourages exercise
- Promotes instinctual behaviors
- Encourages socialization
How to Set Up a Diverse and Interesting Habitat for Your Pet
Providing a diversity of enrichment in your pet’s habitat is all about location, location, location! From the most basic habitat accessories to more advanced enrichment accents, finding the right location to place items within your pet’s habitat can make all the difference.
Starting with the Basics: Food and Water
Decking your little loved one’s habitat with multiple food dishes and water vessels (e.g. bottles and dishes) can provide a surprising number of benefits for your pet. These benefits include:
- Promotes exercise and foraging behaviors as your little one moves about their habitat to find their favorite containers
- Helps prevent resource-guarding aggression within multiple pet households
- Providing multiple places where your furry friends can get water and food will keep them from feeling they have to fight to get their share.
- If your habitat has multiple levels, establish spots where food, water, and healthy snacks can be found on each floor. This is another simple way to encourage your pets to be active and explore.
- Don’t forget to think in multiple dimensions! You don’t have to just keep the food on the ground; with the help of enrichment accessories, you can hide snacks on the walls and other fun locations throughout the habitat for a fun challenge!
Check out these blogs for some fun ideas:
Beyond The Basics: Hides, Chews, and More
Once you’ve taken basic steps to present your pet’s essentials in a more thoughtful and enriching matter, it’s time to think about habitat extras like hammocks, hides, and toys.
Oxbow has a comprehensive line of fantastic, pet-friendly enrichment items made for specifically for small pets like yours. Our Enriched Life items are ideal for meeting the enrichment needs of every furry friend, focusing on the main natural behaviors of your little friends: exploring, hiding, playing, and chewing (for those species that are active chewers).
- It is important to provide accessories to meet each of your pet’s instinctual behaviors and place them in different locations like resource items will enhance the enrichment they receive.
- Hammocks and hides provide cover and resting spots but can also make fun ways to provide more levels for exploring and playing.
- Toys provide opportunities for playing, chewing, and exploring. Keep a good stock and swap them out often so that your furry friends don’t get too used to one toy and are consistently getting a unique variety.
- Utilize your pet’s habitat space as much as possible, putting items in locations throughout. This will ensure they are making use of as much of it as possible. For a little inspiration on how to accessorize your pet’s habitat, check out our Enriched Habitat 360 Video.
Don’t Forget About Time Outside the Habitat!
An ample amount of supervised time out the habitat is essential for all pets. By working to ensure your pet has time to stretch their legs outside the confines of their habitat, you’ll provide mental and physical exercise while creating an opportunity for socialization that leads to a stronger, more loving bond.
To get started:
- Block off an area that they can run and roam free in and spend time with them playing and exploring with them.
- Provide outside hides (like our Enriched Life Play Place or Hideaway Hay Barn) for them to interact with during their outside playtime.
- Looking for more enrichment inspiration? Check out these fun and educational articles!