Whether your job has changed and you now work from home or you simply need to run errands, it’s important to keep pets quiet during phone calls, entertained and out of trouble. The best way to do that is to enrich their environment.
Environmental enrichment can help puppies and kittens develop into well-adjusted, better-behaved and happier adults. As pets enter their golden years, a stimulating home and varied lifestyle may help avoid cognitive decline and prevent excess weight gain. Pets at any age can benefit from being regularly challenged though, and it’ll prevent behavior problems such as barking or chewing.
How to keep a dog entertained
The goal here is to help your pet’s mind stay fresh and strong! Let’s take a look at some easy ways to ensure your dog or cat remains far from bored.
Exercise, exercise, exercise!
When it’s time for a walk, try mixing up your route to introduce new sights and smells. If the weather limits your outdoor time, play fetch down a hallway or staircase!
Rotate toys regularly
Just as with children, our pets can grow tired of the same toys, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy more at the store. Reintroducing a forgotten favorite can energize an otherwise dull day! Rotate your pet’s collection or limit their access and use as a reward for a successful training session.
Mix-up meal time
Make mealtime a fun challenge and encourage natural foraging skills by putting kibble in a food-dispensing toy or a snuffle mat. You can make your own snuffle mat by knotting strips of an old fleece jacket or simply use a shaggy bathmat you already own. Want another easy idea? Create your very own scavenger hunt by hiding small piles of kibble around the house! If your pet struggles to find the food, make the piles a bit more conspicuous.
Treat your pet to a stimulating snack
Nothings sweeter to our pups than a well-earned treat! Try freezing xylitol-free peanut butter in a hollow toy or feed their daily dental chew through an open-design toy. Gnawing on the treat-filled toy for hours can mentally engage your pet, strengthen their jaw muscles and provide hours of satisfaction!
How to entertain a cat
Although most cats are accustomed to an indoor lifestyle, they appreciate new challenges just like our canine companions.
Unbox natural instincts with environmental attractions
With a penchant for pouncing, cats love our often discarded cardboard boxes and paper bags. Did you know these everyday basics also teach our feline friends coordination and stalking skills?
And while motorized mice, remote-controlled toys and laser pointers engage your cat’s natural predatory instinct, simply moving a shoelace or string around can accomplish the same effect. Just be sure to never leave these playthings with your feline friend unsupervised – ingestion can lead to a dangerous blockage and an expensive vet bill!
Try a food puzzle
Traditional food bowls don’t support a cat’s natural hunter tendencies. That why cats can benefit from food puzzles (the same goes for dogs)! These food puzzles can also slow fast eaters, too.
Provide a new perspective
There’s no reason an indoors-only cat can’t be stimulated by the outside world. A hammock wall mount or tall perch near a sunny window will give your curious cat the opportunity to watch birds and neighbors from the safety of your home. Turning the television to a wildlife documentary can also be a great “window” to captivate your pet.
As long as you get creative with how you play with your pet, your dog or cat will continue to learn and grow!
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