5 ideas to help entertain your cat or dog
You’ve successfully completed another day; been to work, fed the troops (maybe yourself too), sorted the dishes, hoovered, even checked your email to see the stack waiting for some sort of response.
You grab your well-earned cup of tea and plant your body on the sofa with a sigh of relief, vowing not to move. That is, of course, until the dog rocks up with his favorite toy or lead wagging his tail madly and looking at you with those eyes which pierce instant guilt through you unless you get up and do something with him or her.
I’m realistic enough to know not all pets receive the amount of exercise, attention or fun needed. The reasons are many, some genuine, some not so genuine. If however, we lift the judgment and guilt we hold over ourselves for this, and find alternatives which DO work with our individual lifestyles, the world is a better place, and perhaps with more un-chewed shoes and un-scratched sofas in it.
5 ideas for entertaining your dog
- Play hide and seek – either indoors or outdoors (if secure). Hide some treats or squeaky toys/balls… whatever your dog enjoys. They spend their time trying to find their treasure and you can grab a few minutes on the sofa.
- Use treat/food balls or pre-bought puzzle games. These keep dogs entertained in a similar way, by having to understand the logic of the puzzle, or get to the gap in the ball in order to receive treats.
- Run boy run! Throw their ball or toy up the stairs, and get them to fetch it! Your dog will chase it and (hopefully) dutifully return it to you. Repeat!
- Obstacle course. Set up an obstacle course indoors, using household items such as buckets, baskets, stools/chairs, and pots for example. Begin to teach him or her to look under things for their prizes, crawl under, through or over… the combinations are endless. This is a lot of fun and great exercise.
- Use a laser light pen or torch for your dog to chase the light around the floor. If you’re outdoors try a hosepipe some love to chase the water spray!
N.B. Do not throw sticks for your dog. They can cause serious injuries as the dog (with its speed and force) runs to grab the end of the stick protruding from the ground. The stick can go straight through the roof of their mouth, cheek and so on.
If you’re throwing balls, use balls bigger than their mouths. Smaller ones can easily get lodged at the back of their throat, preventing breathing. I’ve seen both of these injuries numerous times, with devastating outcomes.
5 ideas for entertaining cats
- Buy a decent, interesting and solid cat tree. Choose one with different levels, sleeping areas, tunnels and ‘dangling things’. Those single posts with one platform at the top (which usually wobble too) aren’t really worth having.
- Use a laser light pen or torch for your cat to chase the light around the floor and lower sections of walls.
- Turn a pair of step-ladders in to the local fun zone. Tie string, toys, treats, non-toxic greenery to the steps and frame, providing a variety of stimuli at different levels, just waiting to be caught, batted with a paw, and played with.
- Have trays of indoor grass sat in window-sills or their favorite spots for further stimuli and interest. Pre-planted trays of grass especially for cats can be bought.
- Use treat/food balls/boxes. These keep them occupied whilst they figure how to ‘get the treat through the gap’ in the ball or out of the box. They love boxes to jump in and out of too, so add a treat in there to get the party started.
If you are watching your doggie or kitty’s waistline, substitute a part of their daily food allowance for the treats.