Dogs get bored – that’s the bottom line. And when dogs get bored, or any animal for that matter, they work to find ways to pass the time or spike their interest. And while that initiative is always something to admire, their methods of fending off boredom aren’t always the greatest – or cleanest.
I can’t see any of you – but if I were to ask by a show of hands, how many of your animals have ripped up your favorite blanket, de-fluffed a toy, or otherwise exhibited some destructive behavior while your were out, my guess is that most of you – if not all – would be raising them.
When it comes to our pets, stimulation for the mind is like running for the joints. It’s good for them, plain and simple. But we’re human, yes? We have jobs and families and social lives. As much as we want to, we cannot always be around to give our pets the attention they need to keep their minds exercised. And so, here are a few great ways to keep BOTH you and your pet’s sanity on days when boredom strikes.
The first recommendation is one of the more obvious ones. Toys. Interactive toys to be more specific.
Interactive toys are a great, staple product that is perfect for pets of all sizes and ages. They’re challenging, stimulating, and are great at fending off unwanted boredom. One of the more popular products used by rescues and pet-parents alike are Kong toys – and for good reason too.
Having picked up enough toy fluff in my lifetime to build my own cloud, I personally LOVE Kong toys and their simple, yet effective design. Not only are they durable, throwable, and washable – they’re FILLable too and great for keeping your pet occupied on an otherwise uneventful day.
Peanut butter is the most common treat used to fill up these glorious toys but if you’re looking for more combinations and different forms of vitamins to give your pet, here are some wonderful filler ideas!
- Blueberries, Oats, Plain Yogurt – (Full of probiotics and antioxidants)
- Canned Pumpkin and Oats – (Promotes healthy digestion)
- Banana, Peanut Butter, Apple Chunks
- Broccoli, Spinach, Sweet Potato Purée – (High in fiber and vitamin C)
- Applesauce, Carrots, Apple Slices, Broccoli
- Shredded Chicken, Squash Puree, Peas – (High in protein and fiber)
Although some of these combinations don’t sound particularly scrumptious, I assure you your dog is going to think you’re a five-star chef. With that said, do not, by any means, feel constrained to a certain recipe when it comes to packing your pet’s Kong with goodies. You can be as creative as you’d like.
Recommendation: Once you’ve filled your Kong, place it in the freezer for about 4-6 hours before giving it to your pet to enjoy. Not only will your pet appreciate a cold treat, but it’ll make the Kong last SO much longer, hence providing them with more mental exercise.
Another great option for curing pet boredom is with visual or auditory stimulation. In other words, eyes and ears.
The first one, and one that I particularly cherished with my third rescue pup, is Dog Music. Dog Music is available on platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and Pandora and consists of calming songs to help destress and entertain your pooch while away. For those that suffer from any form of separation anxiety, this method of stimulation can be incredibly beneficial.
Simply open up your chosen music platform and search “Dog Music” to find hundreds of playlists to put on for your pet. Can’t find it? That’s alright. Classical, instrumental, or elemental music will work as well.
Recommendation: Many animals don’t respond right away to Dog Music, but you shouldn’t give up hope if, at first, it doesn’t work.. It may take a few times of playing this music to reap the full effects of it. It’s also recommended that you play this music while home with your pet – so that he or she doesn’t exclusively associate it with you leaving.
The second option, a more visual one, is known as DOGTV. DOGTV is a free entertainment network that can be streamed from your phone, tablet, laptop, or TV. By definition, it is only technology created for dogs with sights and sounds scientifically designed to enrich your dog’s environment. With programs of relaxation, stimulation, and exposure, this network is great for keeping your pup relaxed and entertained when you aren’t home.
While being a full-time-stay-at-home-dog-parent is the perfect job for fighting pet-boredom, it’s not a profession that many of us are capable of having. Does that mean we have to subject our animals to lonely days in which anxiety and depression can flourish?
Whether it be with interactive toys, music, or visual entertainment, you have the ability to help keep your pet happy, active, and mentally sharp on any given day.