During lockdown, the days may be feeling quite long and the weather may not allow for long spells of fresh air in the garden. Although doggies may be getting out for a couple of walks a day, for some this isn’t quite the same as the big adventures they are used to. On the other hand, our feline friends are probably longing for a bit of quiet. With this in mind, what can we do to help keep the four-legged members of our family entertained and happy whilst we are all housebound together?
It’s all fun and games
If you’ve already stocked up on extra craft materials, playdoh and board/computer games for the kids, now is the time to fill up your pet’s toy box too.
For cats, a sturdy climbing frame is always a winner. Cats love to climb and scratch and so by providing them with a (new) frame this will not only save your curtains and sofa, but it can provide a great deal of entertainment for your feline friend.
There are also numerous cat toys on the market, which they can enjoy playing with either on their own or with you, these include jingly mice, balls etc. However, now you have a little more time to invest, a remote-control toy or laser pen will allow you to interact and have fun with your cat. Whether they are chasing a car or a red dot up the walls, this can keep them entertained for hours.
Don’t forget about the basics either. Cats can be easily entertained with things you have lying around the house so don’t forget about old cardboard boxes or even tin foil! Just remember to change the toys regularly to be able to keep your cat interested.
Dogs can be a little more physical. They love a classic game of fetch, which can be played indoors but be sure to choose a soft toy that won’t accidentally break anything. Tug of War is also a great game to play with the same toys and will teach your dog some self-control too (maybe).
Once your dog has tired of running around, get the same toys and maybe a treat or two and hide them around your house. This doggy version of hide and seek will keep their nose busy for some time whilst they sniff out all of the hidden treasure. Cats can also benefit from such a game but rather than hide treats, simply place some around the house as a nice little surprise.
Similar to toddlers, bubbles also go down a treat with dogs and are great alternative to chasing balls if you have a small garden area. The height and number of bubbles make for a
high energy-burning game of leaping and chasing. You can even buy flavoured, dog-friendly bubbles such as bacon flavour online.
As we increasingly obsess over what our next meal will be and find the treat cupboard more appealing by the hour (thank goodness Joe Wicks is here to help burn those excess calories off) don’t forget that snack time is also a highlight of your pets’ day too.
There are in fact many different feeding devices that are available to purchase both for dogs and cats. Certain feeding devices can provide mental stimulation for your pet whilst they eat, in turn making them eat slower than they usually would. By eating slowly, this reduces the risk of bloating, which also reduces the likelihood of gagging and vomiting, particularly for cats.
Similar to Hide and Seek, treat puzzles and Kong balls are great ways to keep your pet occupied a little longer than regular toys too. Simply hide a treat inside and let them work out how to access it.
After play time don’t forget to schedule in time to relax. Dogs love company even when that involves a nap! Keep a chew toy nearby to ensure your dog knows it’s time to chill for a while. Your cat may very well curl up on you and enjoy a snuggly, purr-filled nap or they may take the chance to slink away to their favourite quiet place for their version of ‘me time’.
However you choose to fill your days, be sure to keep providing a nutritious and balanced diet for your four-legged friend. Visit www.vitalinpetfood.co.uk for our full range of dog and cat food or call 01522 778001 to find out more.