Importance of Animal Enrichment


Imagine being locked inside your room 24/7 with only a bed, a bowl of food, and water. That’s right. No electronics, books, magazines or anything else to entertain you.  You would have so much pent up energy you would go crazy jumping and yelling for joy at the first chance you had to get out.

This scenario is what rescued animals in selective admission facilities face every single day. Some live in a kennel for months and months on end.  Thankfully, facilities like the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (HSNEGA) have found a way to help our four-legged friends pass the time with a method called animal enrichment.

Animal enrichment increases the behavioral wellness of animals living in kennels with mental and physical stimulation.  This stimulation comes in many different forms for canines and felines.  For canines, it can mean placing various toys in an animal’s kennel each week, especially toys that make them work for treats or food.  One favorite are peanut butter stuffed Kongs that can be put  in the freezer for a frozen treat that will be a fun source of entertainment.

You may have been to one of our recent events, Yappy Hour, which benefited the rescued animals in our Adoption Center by allowing HSNEGA to purchase new enrichment toys for our animals such as some wonderful toys from Jolly Pets.  Jolly Pets also donated extra toys to HSNEGA for even more fun!  As you can see in the picture above, one of our now HSNEGA alums, Aspen, had a blast playing with all the toys.

Kong Drive #1

Teaching dogs simple tricks such as “sit” and “stay” is another great way to give dogs mental enrichment while also helping make them more adoptable.  HSNEGA also keeps our canines happy by having volunteers take them every day to exercise in the outdoor runs.  Our volunteers are the best because they spend time socializing the dogs to better prepare them for life with their forever family.


Animal enrichment for cats is very similar.  At HSNEGA, our cats go into a feline frenzy over any and every toy!  We also know they need their own space to get away from all of the craziness at the shelter which is why some of the proceeds from our Yappy Hour event also went towards the purchase of cat portals.  If you don’t know much about felines, they need separate spaces to go to the bathroom and rest.  The cat portals make it easier for HSNEGA to give our fabulous felines the space they need to thrive.  And just like our dogs they always get socialization time each day with our wonderful volunteers.

Now, go out into the world and give some fun animal enrichment to your own four-legged friend!

Written by Leah Hodges, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern


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