Optimising your pet’s environment

Behavioural problems can make it tricky to live with your pet and are also one of the top reasons they are surrendered to RSPCA Victoria. Unwanted behaviours often have an underlying cause such as poor training or anxiety.

Common signs of stress in dogs and cats

If you think your cat or dog is exhibiting these behaviours, talk to your vet, especially if your pet is becoming aggressive.

Stressed-out dogs

  • Destructive behaviors.
  • Self-mutilation and/or obsessive chewing.
  • Aggression.
  • Unexplained lapse in house-training.
  • Separation anxiety.

Stressed-out cats

  • Unwanted scratching.
  • Obsessive licking and/or hair chewing.
  • Aggression.
  • Toileting mishaps.
  • Crying at night.

If your vet thinks your pet may be bored or experiencing anxiety, enriching their environment could help.

Enriching your pet’s life

If you’re recently spending less quality time with your pet, they might be experiencing separation anxiety or boredom. Enriching their environment could hold the answer to your pet peeves.

Here are our top enrichment ideas for cats and dogs.

Enrichment for dogs

Human interaction

Dogs crave human attention, so spend more time with your dog outside attending to their daily needs. Teach some new commands, attend an agility class or head outside and play fetch.

Interaction with other dogs

Head to the dog park and let your pooch make friends. Doggo play dates, or visiting a local pet friendly cafe can spark fun introductions for you and your pooch.

New smells

Doggie noses are 40 times more powerful than ours, so give them something to sniff at. Place new scents in their toys and they’ll spend hours trying to stick that snoot right in.


There are lots of options for toys that are mentally stimulating, Kong toys are especially good, and we stock them in our online store!


Make sure your dog is getting the amount of exercise they need. Tire them out so they don’t have the energy to misbehave.

Enrichment for cats

Mix up your cat’s environment

Cats often have their favourite spots where they’ll sleep away the day, but if they’re exhibiting unwanted behaviours it might be time to make things interesting. New hiding places to explore, towers to climb and high resting spots could be exactly what your cat needs.

Nip it in the bud

Most cats feel relaxed by catnip, so you could incorporate it into their day and see if it has the desired effect. A word of warning: cats don’t always chill on the nip, so keep an eye on them if it’s their first whiff.

Scratching behaviors

If your kitty is going claw-crazy on your furniture, provide other outlets for them. It’s natural behaviour, so redirecting them will be much easier than stopping it altogether.


Cats love chasing and pouncing on toys that are light and easily moved around. Kong toys are ideal, and luckily RSPCA Victoria stocks the range!


Feeding time can be fun! Place multiple bowls around your home, make your cat forage and hide treats in tricky spots – anything to get your kitty thinking on their paws.

Give your pet a health check

Enriching your pet’s environment is important for their wellbeing. If your pet is exhibiting unwanted behaviours, a visit to your vet can rule out more serious health problems so you can get on with making their lives full of love and mini adventures.

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