With social isolation and home lockdown, a common question we get asked is, ‘Besides walks, how can I keep my pet entertained?’
Here are our top 10 suggestions!
1: Remove the food bowl
Getting rid of the food bowl is the most important thing you can do for your pet! Scatter feeding, feeding in food dispensing toys, using food for training or even hand feeding are fantastic alternatives. This little change allows for dinner time to go from a few minute to up to 20 minutes.
Pictured is Percy with his favorite food toy the Kong Wobbler
2. Frozen treats
Dry food, small amounts of cheese, liver treats and spd dog roll are some of the many options that can be made into frozen treats. These doggy ‘icy poles’ will get your pet excited and distracted as they lick and chew their way through them.
This frozen Kong included a mix of dry dog food, peanut butter, boiled chicken breast, cheese and liver treats.
3: Hide and seek
Hide and seek is a great game to keep your pet on their toes… well more the fact, using their nose! You can use food or toys for this game
Treats, an old egg carton and some paper are all you need for this exciting game.
4. Snuffle mat
Want a craft project? Why not make a snuffle mat! The aim of a snuffle mat is for pets to find treats you have hidden within the fabric strips. The benefit is that treats are not seen, meaning pets have to use their nose! Using their nose, also helps to stimulate the brain.
5. Learn something new
Has your dog (or cat) mastered sit, stay, drop? Why not start learning shake, high 5, Peek-a-boo, roll over or spin? Pets love learning new things. Why not spend 5 minutes each day mastering a new skill.
Here is Percy. He is mastering the art of spinning.
6: Teaser cat toys
This game can be done while sitting on the couch watching your favorite tv show or from your desk chair as you take a 5 minute break. Just be careful not to have animals twist and skid around slippery floors.
Here is Mandu, he is paying with his favorite teaser toy.
7: Clicker training
Clicker training or Marker training can really help you speed up your animals learning. Once you have ‘charged’ the marker, you can then start to use it to teach your pet lots of new things quickly. This is one to practice every day for 5 minutes. Clicker training is a unique sound to reinforce a desired action or behaviour. https://www.clickertraining.
For Baloo, this sound is the greatest noise ever. It means yummy treats are coming. And as we all know, for Labradors treats are life! Look how carefully he listens out for his clicker.
8. Ball games
Have you got a ball obsessed animal? Don’t forget about a good game of fetch. Cats and Dogs alike have been known to spend hours harassing their owners to throw the ball.
Just be mindful to keep fetch games short. If your pet is tired, it is time to stop. An exhausted pet is more likely to jump and land silly on their legs which can lead to injury.
9. Obstacle course
Build a small and safe obstacle course using a few items at home. Your obstacle course can include chairs to weave around, benches to walk on and broom sticks to jump over. Just place lots of yummy dog/cat treats around the course to encourage your pet.
Simple, cheap and hours of entertainment for pets and kids alike! Home schooling at the moment? Bubbles can be a great study break the whole family can get involved in.
With any of the suggestions, please ensure the activity is safe and positive for your pet. If your pet doesn’t seem comfortable or is disinterested in the activity, do not continue. With any activity using food, ensure the food is part of their daily allowance and not additional. We want our pets to be fit not fat!