We know dogs need exercise and mental stimulation, but sometimes it’s rough to accomplish. What do we do if it’s too cold out to play outside? How can you entertain your pup if you’re super busy?

Making feeding time into a scavenger hunt game is one simple way to exercise your pet’s mind and body. Make pets expend mental and physical energy to get that treat! Dogs are natural scavengers, and they’ll love spending time searching for food. (You already know this if your dog has ever gotten into your trashcan).

It may sound a little crazy, but in just 3 simple steps, you can turn meal time into an engaging indoor scavenger hunt for your furry friend.

1.) Snag some simple some store-bought food puzzles and toys

You don’t need store-bought items to make this work, but they can certainly add variety to your scavenger hunt.  You should always check with your veterinarian to ensure the chew toys and puzzles you’re using are safe, but here are a few ideas:

2.) Create your own DIY dog food puzzles

Make your dog food scavenger hunt even more engaging for your pet with common household items and some simple tricks:

  • Wrap dog food up in a blanket
  • Put kibble under cups or bowls
  • Hide treats in little piles around your house

3.) Add in some exercise

Bring your dog’s scavenger hunt to the next level by adding in a little bit of exercise. Simply tossing kibble for your dog, getting him to run back and forth to retrieve it, can burn off excess energy indoors.

Want more tips on exercising your dog indoors?

In this quick, four minute episode of Cone of Shame, I talk about my own dog’s favorite indoor games, give more details on scavenger hunts, and share bonus tips to wear your pup out without leaving the house.