No matter how good a shelter is, it still isn’t home. This can lead to boredom, anxiety and the development of behaviour and/or health problems. Enrichment programming provides an interesting, complex, challenging, stimulating and variable environment that encourages shelter animals to explore, think, learn, engage, and be well — mentally and physically. Whether it’s providing a toy that allows a cat to practice its natural hunting and chasing skills or a dog’s love of chewing, enrichment is a vital component of a successful adoption program. Unhappy, frustrated, or bored animals will not show well and potential adopters may be put off by their kennel-induced behaviours. Enrichment helps to counter these behaviours by making the pets’ environments more stimulating and challenging through Environmental and Behavioural Enrichment.

Household Items to Collect – to make toys at home or donate to the Shelter pets

  • Socks – adult or baby socks (new or freshly laundered)
  • Milk caps and plastic bottle caps
  • Plastic pop bottles (500 mL, labels removed)
  • Metal shower curtain rings
  • Wine corks
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Stretchy Elastic cord
  • New tennis balls

Toys to Purchase for donation to Shelter pets

  • Rawhides/Dog Chews
  • Lickable Cat Tube Treats
  • Catnip, Silvervine, or HoneySuckle
  • Treat Puzzles or Balls
  • Kongs
  • Jingle Balls for Cats
  • Hunting Scents for dogs (pheasant, duck, rabbit, etc.)

Homemade Fun for Shelter Pets

You, your family, classroom or service group can brighten the day of a shelter pet by making some of these fun and easy toys that are sure to provide hours of fun and entertainment while they await their forever home. You can even make these for your own pets too!

Download the following enrichment toy instructions and decide which project is right for you! When you are finished with your project, you may drop it off during business hours.  Please note that frozen treats are for home use only.