Photo by Fermin Rodriguez Penelas on Unsplash
All the restrictions and sudden changes we’ve been facing during the COVID-19 pandemic haven’t left our pets unaffected. With household members being at home all the time, plus the interrupted daily schedules and the lack of walks, our furry companions are facing restlessness, anxiety and boredom just as much as we are.
Just because you can’t go out and socialize doesn’t mean there aren’t fun and engaging activities to take up at home. Here are some ideas on how to utilize the lockdown with your pet and help it stay occupied and adequately stimulated.
Respect their private space
Our four-legged friends need peace and quiet to restore the energy and catch up on some needed sleep. Dogs, for instance, have to go through the sleep-wake cycles during the day to maintain quality rest. This means that frequent snoozing during the day is perfectly normal; in fact, it is necessary for your pooch to stay healthy.
If there’s space, make sure to make your pet’s sleeping area in a separate room, or at least in a quiet and separated corner. Their bed should be comfortable and spacious, with their favorite toys, blankets, or accessories. You may have noticed your pet suddenly getting agitated as now many people are spending too much time indoors, so make sure to respect their “territory” and provide them the needed space. Cat window perches are an excellent idea which will give your kitty a territorial watch space, while allowing her to bask in the sun without being outdoors. A peaceful and private space is just as important as mental or physical stimulation for a calm and healthy pet.
Make up for the lack of physical activity
Since the pandemic has restricted our time spent outdoors, pet owners (dog parents especially) are struggling with the lack of walks and regular potty breaks for their pets. Luckily, there are ways to keep your pet active and busy in enclosed space.
If you’re a treadmill owner, utilize it for large dog breeds and active pooches. You can even put the dog on a leash and pretend you’re on your favorite walking tour. There may be some unsuccessful tries in the beginning, but eventually your dog will get to love it.
As much as their outbursts of energy are adorable, pups and kittens may drive you crazy during the lockdown. To compensate for the lack of activity, get a puppy playpen for your pet. It will become their personal space while your home will stay mess-free. Also, a playpen is a safe playing area for small pets as you don’t need to worry about them getting hurt or lost.
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
Get creative with games
What a great time to spend it with your loved ones and enjoy family fun! Get your kids involved and create engaging and stimulating games for your pet. Dogs typically enjoy fetching, chewing, tugging, and retrieving, while cats like to toss things around and chase them.
Agility courses are excellent for mental stimulation and catching up on training. Everyday household items like chairs, boxes, and furniture can be turned into DIY obstacles, partitions and traps. Not only will your pet be occupied, but it will also influence its cognitive improvement and positive energy burst.
Lockdown is also a perfect time to make good use of all the toys and accessories lying around. You can play a modified version of “fetch” by naming toys and teaching your dog to respond accordingly. Or you can play interactive games with your cat just with a cardboard box and a piece of string! This is also an effective method of training.
Oldschool hide-and-seek is as enriching as it is simple. Upgrade the game by hiding treats in toys or containers to make the search even more challenging.
Work on mentally engaging your pet
Mind-boosting activities can be just as tiring as physical. To effectively spark interest in your pet, incorporate stimulating activities playfully, through games. You can play scavenger hunt with your kitten or pooch by hiding some delicious treats around the house. Let the pet find its way around and figure out how to get to the goal.
You can also play the shell game by hiding a reward under one of the three cups, then move them around until your pets guess where it is.
If you hadn’t had time to discipline your pet, now is the time to work on that. Although cats seem too hard-headed to be trained, there are useful techniques like clicker training, which proved very effective in mastering basic commands.
Most importantly, be there for your pet
Animals can easily notice agitation, stress and anxiety, which is why pets often sympathize with their owners. If they feel affection, love and safety, your pets will remain calm and satisfied. On top of that, if you find a way to deal appropriately with the pandemic crisis, your beloved furry companion will be happy with you as well. These nifty tips can help you turn the lockdown into a positive experience and bear the restrictions as effortlessly as possible.