We have seen the adorable photos of people attempting to work with a cat on their laptop or a huge dog trying to get on their laps. We love them, but it might be time to start thinking of some creative ways to keep them entertained, especially when we are trying to spend as little time as possible around others.
Keep in mind that your pet’s quarantine has similar mental health effects as your own. Since their walks may be getting shorter, and you’re now spending more time at home on your computer, you might be interested in a few fun tips to keep your dogs and cats active and happy during the current coronavirus shelter-in-place regulations:
Invest in some automatic/solo toys
These can be a real lifesaver for the at-home worker! Choosing some well-reviewed automatic toys can help distract your pets during work meetings and calls. For cats, there are a lot of options to choose from. There are automatic laser pointers that can keep your kitty transfixed for hours, as well as robotic toys with feathers and bells that can zip around your home for them to chase. You can also choose things that your pets can enjoy solo, like a Kong for your dog. You can freeze some peanut butter or other treat inside it, and they will happily play with it until they’ve gotten every last drop. Interactive toys can also reduce stress and boredom your pet might be feeling due to being stuck indoors for longer periods. If you aren’t sure which interactive toys to buy, here are the highest-rated toys for cats and dogs.
Teach some new tricks or correct behavior
Take this extra time to teach your pet some new tricks or work on some behavior issues. Start with some basic obedience tricks, if your pet doesn’t already know them, like sit, down and come. If you already have those mastered, work on some fun new tricks like speak, shake paws and spin. If you are looking for some ideas, Doggolab has created this list with instructions on how to actually get them to learn the trick. If you have a cat you have been trying to teach not to jump on the counters or a dog who keeps leaping up onto guests no matter your protests, this is the perfect time to positively enforce the correct behavior while you’re home. For those new to positive enforcement training, check out these do’s and don’ts from Cesar’s Way.
Pets can also benefit from a change of scenery, just like people. If you find your dog or cat feeling restless, you can setup an obstacle course for them to enjoy. This doesn’t need to cost you any money! Use things you have around the house like hampers, boxes, brooms and anything else that might be useful. Hide treats here and there throughout the course to keep them motivated and watch them burn off lots of energy. Petfinder created this quick guide to building an indoor course for your cat, but if you have a back yard, check out this break down on how to build an obstacle course right on your lawn!
Toys are great for our pets because they help stimulate the brain, teach problem solving skills, and promote exercise. However, if they are frequently playing with the same toys, they lose interest, which is why it’s important to rotate them. Instead of leaving all of the toys out throughout the day, try only leaving a few out at a time and use toys that serve different purposes. For example, try leaving a rope toy out for games like tug-of-war, a ball for fetch, a chew toy for hide and seek around the house, and a comfort toy that your pet likes to snuggle. Mix these up every 4 days or so to keep up interest. For the interactive toys, try leaving them out for a set amount of time each day. You want your pet to always be excited to use it, so leave it out for 30 minutes or so a day, and alternate which interactive toys you use.
Being stuck inside most of the day doesn’t have to be boring! Mix it up with these tips and tricks to make your pet feel their best, even during this coronavirus quarantine. If you don’t currently have a furry friend and are feeling listless without any pets at home, consider fostering or adopting from your local shelter!