Sitting around all day can really start to get to your pet. It's important to provide healthy ways for our pets to burn off energy because otherwise dogs and cats can become anxious or depressed or exhibit negative behaviors, such as chewing and clawing.
When boredom strikes, these easy tips will entertain dogs and cats while sharpening their brains.
Follow Their Instincts
Does your dog like to dig or scavenge? Tap into your dog's natural tendencies by filling a stuffable toy with treats. For your cat, they need to climb, and they feel most confident when perched up high. Place a shelf or ledge by the window so they can see what’s interesting outside.
Get Fresh Air
When walking your dog, allow time for leisurely exploration of neighborhood scents. Dogs see the world through their noses. Sniffing around promotes brain health, like when you do a crossword puzzle. Cats enjoy the outdoors too. Let outgoing and social felines become accustomed to a harness and leash while indoors by rewarding them with treats, then take them out for a supervised prowl.
Keep Your Pets Busy
Experiment until you find a game that piques their interest. If your dog likes to tear up toys, look for items designed for extreme chewers. Cats enjoy ping-pong balls, empty boxes and paper bags, and playthings that crinkle or chirp. They also need scratching posts for sharpening nails and stretching. If you don’t provide posts, they’ll scratch whatever’s around.
Join the Fun
Pets thrive on interaction. Walk you dog on different routes to keep them stimulated. Play fetch, blow pet-friendly bubbles or join an obedience class. Kitty cats love to "hunt." Use a pole with a feather on the end, drag it erratically, then make it “die” when your cat pounces. Provide a treat as a reward so they think they’ve captured the prey.
Make Mealtime Engaging
As your pet would have to do in the wild, make them work for their food! Hide kibble under paper cups and tell your dog to “find it,” which encourages them to use their nose. Place pieces of your cat’s food on each stair or inside an empty paper towel tube. Food puzzles, which require animals to figure out how to release a snack, are another creative option.
Article courtesy of Family Circle, Nov. 2016