boredom busters: tips for keeping pets entertained

Posted by Dr. Jules Benson on Oct 01 2009


January gets all the credit. It may be the official start of the calendar year, but for most of us, September marks a new beginning. With the kids off to school and social calendars gearing up for fall, September ushers in new routines for everyone, especially your dog. After months of your good company, furry family members are left to wonder: “Where’d everybody go?” With best friends away all day and shorter sunlight hours for outdoor play, the change of season can lead to separation anxiety, stress and shoe-chewing, rug-peeing boredom. To help ease your pup through this tough transition (and spare your furnishings,) occupy those idle paws with these pup-proven boredom busters.

Pup Puzzlers
One part delicious treat, one part toy, the food puzzler is a doggie dream. To keep your dog happy and engaged long after the morning rush, pack peanut butter or pumpkin puree inside a Kong toy and freeze it. Or, for cooler days, just fill the Kong with a mix of kibble and wet dog food for an extra special treat. Then, present the food puzzle to your dog just before leaving each day. He’ll be so busy figuring out how to get the goodies out, he won’t have time to whine or cry at the door. Some Petplan policyholders also like to tune in to TV or special DVDs designed just for pets. The background noise and engaging images keep them company until their people come home.

Mid-Day Dash

You know it’s true. Well-exercised dogs are well-behaved dogs. Go too long between walks and your dog will release his energy onto anything in paw’s reach (think: your bed pillows!). Even if the pooch has outdoor access while you’re away, a mid-day walk or run makes life much easier for everyone involved. If you can’t make it home mid-day yourself, maybe consider hiring a dog walker to dash your dog. It’s good for everybody. Your dog gets exercise, fresh air and good human company, and you come back to a home that looks much like the one you left.

Predictable Plans

Just like kids, dogs do best with routines. To help minimize stress during transition times, try to keep your dog’s eating, exercising and snoozing schedules as predictable as possible. With a little planning, you’ll help your dog flow from season to season, wagging all the while.