It’s a mood changer and an uncertain time in the world, what with social distancing, no doggie park and no kitty play hour. Chances are you and your pets adhere to a day by day schedule, which has changed drastically in the last few weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are confined to our dwellings for most hours of the day and our pets want our attention. It is highly recommend going out for long walks as much as you can … a “total immune booster”. It can be therapeutic for both you and your pet to get some fresh air, while abiding to the guidelines established for our well being.
While confined inside, there are many things you can do to engage with your furry playmates. Use your creativity and ingenuity to conjure up new ways to make daily playtime more jubilant. This will make your cuddle time more enriching and therapeutic.
First rule: Know your pet’s personality and activity level. Then mix it up! You will become their personal trainer! Design a program that meets their specific needs and fits in with your schedule. Remember: “what you sow so shall you reap.” The benefits of pet interaction are awesome! Interaction increases serotonin levels, which boosts mood, memory, increases oxytocin levels and dopamine levels to the brain (“love pleasure hormones”). This reduces psychological stress (anxiety or fear) and health ailments such as high blood pressure or heart issues.
Some Suggestions to Keep You and Your Furr Babies Happy
For All Pets
Music: Get your feet a-tapping! You can do this in the smallest of spaces and offers a fun time with your pet at the same time. I have an Australian Shepherd, so there is some movin’ going on! Just a few minutes goes a long way to making your day or evening oh so much better!
Hide and Seek: Is really for both cats and dogs. It’s always fun to hide treats around the house and let your pet sniff them out. You can use cardboard boxes, muffin tins and egg crate boxes to create a labyrinth of fun.
My pup loves dog puzzles and treat dispensers. Nina Ottoman makes some really cool ones for both dogs and kitties.
Toss and Retrieve: This is a natural behavior for canines (prey-carrying). Fetch and retrieve is instinctual to getting a meal (dogs are descendants of wolves). I recommend softer balls indoors, and also a good game of catch-the-toy-in-the-air if your dog enjoys that kind of play. It’s always fun to work on training new behavior patterns and tricks they can learn.
Chew: Satisfying your pups natural urges to chew and gnaw can give your dog hours of play time and keeps gums and teeth healthy. These are good for when you need some quiet time. They come in all shapes and sizes and strengths. *Please make sure you purchase ones that are non-toxic to your pet. Kong Toys and Jolly Toys are on the top of my list. Also look into West Paw Pet Products.
Tug: You can find many creative ways to play tug with your furry friend. Once again I like Kong durable toys. You can find many of them on Amazon and Chewy.com
Snuggle: Lots and Lots of Cuddles, hugs and belly rubs! and brushing/grooming can be hugely bonding.
Make Sure You Design a Program Based on Your Cat’s Personality
Swat: Some toys mimic their prey…ribbons, feathers, and anything that dangles or drags will engage your kitty’s curiosity, and there goes the paw! SWAT! Check out the latest in Cat Teaser Toys on Chewy.com. Fashion Talk Cat Toys offers a super great Variety Pack…a great gift, especially for new kitty owners.
Private Space: Blankets in shapes. Rugs in shapes. Boxes they can hide in. Think Cat Condo or MidWest’s Curios Cat Cube.
Hunting: This is a very strong instinct (you may have experienced an occasional mouse or bird left for you as a present). Toys or objects that mimic sounds. Hide-and-seek with treats around your home encourages their natural instincts.
Scratching Posts: Scratching is an instinctive behavior in cats. They use posts to stretch, to mark territory, and help the outer layer of their nails. Kongs’ natural incline cat Scratcher toy is pretty great and can decrease furniture scratching!
Schedule Quality Playtimes: Playtime doesn’t have to extend to hours on end. Try 10- or 15-minute game play with your furry friend. Games can include fetch, crumpled tissue paper,wand toys, flashlights or anything you can dream up that gives them mental and physical stimulation. Bored kitties..”not so good!” Engaged kitties are happy kitty. Prrrrrr.
Prayers to all at this time. Sending much love, and prayers for wellness and peace during this very challenging time. XXXOO