How to keep your pets entertained indoors
We are living in unprecedented times with the current Covid-19 pandemic. However, all clouds have a silver lining and I’m sure your pets are very happy that you are home. While the majority of us are still able to go for dog walks and maintain social distancing, there are some of us that are in self-isolation or self-quarantine. Your dogs are probably wondering why they don’t go for walks anymore.
Dogs thrive on exercise, social engagement, and exploring smells, sights and sounds. If you and your pets are confined indoors, we need to provide them extra stimulation with scent games, fetch, tug, etc. A good dog is a tired dog and we need to make sure their pent-up energy does not manifest in destructive behaviour.
Here are some indoor activities you can do if walks are out of the question:
- Make your dog work for their treats
Having your dog work for treats/food can provide mental stimulation and enrichment. One of the most popular toys for this is the Kong or a treat-dispensing ball where food falls out one piece at a time. If you are feeling crafty (or bored!), you can even make a snuffle mat (https://www.petsplusus.com/pet-information/lifestyle/diy-snuffle-mat-for-pets) for your dog. However, try not to over-do the treats, especially if your dog is not getting exercise. Just using their meals for these activities should be sufficient.
- Play indoor fetch or make an obstacle course
Hallway fetch can be a fun game for you dog. It does not have to be a long hallway, just keep it fun and exciting. You can also teach your dog to jump over or under chairs to change up the game and teach them new commands.
- Hide and seek
The classic game of hide and seek can help your dog work on their sit/stay and to come when called. It will also help your dog’s problem-solving and scent skills. Hide-and-seek does not have to involve finding people. Finding hidden treats can also be a reward in itself.
- Shell game
Let your dog or cat watch you place a treat under one of three cups. You then shuffle the cups around and encourage them “find the treat”. This helps provide mental stimulation and their problem solving skills.
- Teach your pet a new trick
You CAN teach an old dog new tricks, and some motivated cats too! You can also work on their old tricks to really cement them in, or teach them silly ones like weaving through your legs or jumping through a hoop.
As always, Edgemont Veterinary Clinic is available to answer any of your questions. If you are in quarantine or self-isolation, we are offering curbside service and food/medication delivery so you can stay safe. Please give us a call and we can give you details.