At first sniff, Easter doesn’t smell like the best holiday for dogs. A lot of what makes Easter fun is unsafe for dogs: chocolate, candy, raisin filled hot x buns.
The best tradition of all is searching for goodies in the yard!
Here are some tips to safely get your dog involved in fun Easter activities.
Keep your dog safe
As mentioned, chocolate is toxic for dogs! If you’re planning to do an egg-hunt with the rest of the family, make sure your dog cannot find the “human” treats. Keep count of how many chockies are hidden so that you can be sure your dog will not gobble any when it’s her turn the play.
Always supervise your dog when playing.
Creating a dog friendly Easter hunt
Setting up a dog-friendly “egg hunt” is a great way to test your pup’s sense of smell while keeping them busy and mentally stimulated.
It’s best to keep your hiding spots simple, especially if your dog isn’t used to scent games. Stay on ground level and choose hiding places that don’t require jumping or anything resulting in knocking things over.
Under bushes, behind curtains, under leaves or in hollow logs are some of our favourite hiding spots.
You can also hide your treats inside coloured plastic eggs and scatter them around the yard (dogs find it easier to see yellow and blue shades). These are easily found at value stores around Easter time.
If your dog is a big chewer and you’re afraid he might gobble up the whole plastic egg, you can use a Kong instead.
A fun crafty project to do with kids: collect empty rolls of toilet paper and decorate them for Easter using crayons. Close one end of the TP by pressing down the corners, fill with a treat or two before closing the other end. Looking almost like a Christmas cracker, these DIY treat fillers are perfect to hide around the garden.
Select your treats.
Since your dog will have to use his strongest sense to find the treat (smell), you need to pick some stinky treats! If you’re also hiding your treats in a closed container, the game will be made more difficult and most dogs will need the help of strong-smelling treats.
Think smear of peanut butter, pieces of cheese, high-value fish treats
For the rest of the treats, you can also use carob and yoghurt buttons, fruits (blueberries, bananas), carrots, cooked sweet potatoes, as well as kibbles.
The best is to use small, chewy & enticing treats that your dog really enjoys!
Anytime your dog finds a treat, make sure to reward them with praise and keep an excited voice to encourage them to continue.
It’s important to limit the number of treats to make sure your pup doesn't get sick from overeating. Keep track and make sure to adjust your pup’s next meal so they’re not getting more than their recommended daily amount.
A great alternative to treat-hunt is a scent hunt!
Using a little brush or cotton pad, smear different scents around the garden, on low foliage, garden furniture etc and let your dog go from one spot to another while praising and encouraging.
Great scent options are vanilla extract, drops of essential oil such as peppermint or lavender or the Springwater of a tuna can.
Now you’re ready for a fun and adventurous Easter weekend!
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