Have you noticed your cat or dog seems bored or depressed? Has their mood or behavior changed recently? Some common signs of boredom in pets include over- or under-eating, destructive behavior, over-grooming, seeking lots of attention, and sleeping more than usual.
Chronic boredom can even lead to depression and anxiety, which is just as unpleasant for dogs and cats as it is for humans. The good news is that there are tons of great ways to help your pet stay entertained, mentally stimulated, and healthy!
Here are a few of our favorite pet-enrichment ideas to keep your furry friend busy:
It’s common for both cats and dogs to get bored or agitated when they can’t see what’s going on outside. Even if your pet has lots of space to play and explore inside, it’s all space they know. The outdoors is always changing, and watching the activity from inside can help keep your pet interested and mentally stimulated throughout the day.
Make sure there is a comfortable, warm place right next to the window for your dog or cat to sit, and place a bird feeder or birdbath outside your pet’s window for extra entertainment!
It’s hard for humans to imagine the amazing sensory world of our cuddly family members. Dogs’ sense of smell is somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times better than ours. While cats aren’t quite as adept sniffers as dogs, smell is still their primary tool for identifying people and objects.
New smells are always interesting to cats and dogs, so bringing in new plants with interesting or new smells will catch their attention immediately.
Here are a few ideas of things to bring indoors to provide sensory enrichment for cats or dogs and help keep their nose and mind occupied:
There’s nothing like friends and companionship to help ward off boredom and keep your pet busy! Chances are, you know at least one other pet owner who would be interested in setting up a playdate.
Playdates provide socialization and stimulation for your pet and if you meet at a park or a friend's house, a new place to explore!
Socialized pets are less likely to become isolated and bored, and they tend to be happier as a result. Just be sure to ask about the temperament of your pet’s new playmate to make sure they’ll be compatible with your furry one and increase the chances of them becoming fast friends.
Toys, in general, are a great way to keep your pet entertained and occupied. But interactive toys are especially useful when it comes to combating boredom and providing mental stimulation for your little one.
Interactive and puzzle toys vary in function, size, and difficulty level, but they’re all intended to entertain pets, stimulate their brains, and satisfy their natural instincts.
Some of our favorite interactive toys are the Kong Puzzlements ones, which engage your pet’s problem-solving skills, and the Starmark Treat Dispensing Looper Toy, which makes mealtime more fun and allows them to use their natural hunting/foraging instincts.
Spending quality time with your pet is one of the most important things you can do for their health and happiness, and it’s a great way to prevent them from getting chronically bored. Of course, sometimes it’s nice to just cuddle up on the couch together, but incorporating some fun indoor games into your routine will provide regular cognitive stimulation, exercise, and socialization.
Here are a few ideas:
Nothing makes a dog happier or more entertained than running around and getting tuckered out. If your dog is being hyperactive, barking, whining, being needy, destroying items around your house, or acting up in some other way, they may simply be craving some much-needed exercise.
Regularly walking, running, or playing fetch with your dog not only helps stave off boredom, but it also makes them genuinely happy and strengthens your bond. A recent study found that dogs release the same “feel good” chemicals when they exercise as humans do, leading to what is commonly known as runner’s high.
At King Duke’s, we know that a busy pet is a happy pet. We treat your little one like family and we love helping you find products to make their life better and more fun.
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As we go back to school, back to the office, and maybe even back on a trip to somewhere besides the grocery store, we've been thinking about how to make sure our pets don’t feel left out. Here's the official King Duke’s guide to a peaceful post-pandemic pooch!