Cinema Veterinary Centre

Your pets are bored to death…

Posted on Nov 06, 2017 by deborah  | Tags: Healthy Pets, happy, pets, play, enrich, feed, feeding, toys, dogs, cats, canines, felines

Use these 9 quick and easy pet enrichment tips to help put the “play” back in pets’ “playtime.”

Your pets are bored to death…


Use these 9 quick and easy pet enrichment tips to help put the “play” back in pets’ “playtime.”


This article is part of a larger package that explores all aspects of pet enrichment. It’s a sad fact: Zoos do a better job with enrichment for captive wildlife than most pet owners do with our companion dogs and cats. Fetch dvm360 conference speaker Steve Dale, CABC, a nationally syndicated radio host, recommends taking a page from zoo medicine to educate pet owners about how to enrich their pets’ lives.


Start with these 9 tips:


1. Spread the love with the right resources. Every house should have the number-of-cats-plus-one ratio of these resources: scratching posts, elevated spots where the cats can go and litterboxes.


2. Share cheap DIY toy enrichment ideas. Toys don’t need to be expensive. Here are a few suggestions you can offer to get pet parents started on the right paw:

•             Get paper bags instead of plastic at the grocery store. Cut the bottoms out, tape them together and you have a cat tunnel.

•             Before you recycle the Amazon Prime box, leave it out for a couple of days for your cat to hide in and bat around, or hide a tasty treat in the box and let your dog or cat figure out how to get the treat out of the box.


3. Encourage pet owners to think outside the bowl when feeding pets. Dale points to contra-freeloading, an observed behavior in many species. The premise: If given a choice, an animal prefers the food that requires effort.



You can accomplish the same concept with a toilet tube roll: fill it with kibble, twist the ends, cut a couple of holes in it and let the cat hunt.


4. Cats need enrichment to prevent behavioral problems and obesity. Many are under the impression that cats don’t need enrichment, especially in comparison to dogs. Bored cats are stressed cats, and stressed cats pee on beds.


Toys like cat dice and fishing poles can spell playtime for pets and their people ... and possibly keep boredom and behavior problems at bay.


5. Only leave a few toys out at a time, and rotate toys every couple of days. Pets get bored with the same old toys.



Cats appreciate variety in their toys.


6. Look for outdoor enrichment opportunities. Clients who are interested in outdoor enrichment for house cats might be interested in building a “catio.”

Safe spaces outside like catios offer kitties a chance to enjoy all the sounds and smells.

7. Make enrichment a fun game for pet parents too. People enjoy the dopamine boost of playing just as much as cats and dogs do.


8. Remember to walk that dog! The most overlooked enrichment for dogs is a walk. Letting the dog out into the yard isn’t the same as going for a walk. Dogs in yards get bored and can develop reactive behavioral problems. Everyone’s encountered the dogs that rush the fence and give you a heart attack every time you walk by.

Go for a walk, and if you’re on a walk for the dog’s benefit, give the dog some time to be a dog. Loose the choke holds on the leash and let them sniff.


9. Stop using the term fractious to describe pet behavior. Most of our pets aren’t fractious. They’re afraid they’re going to die.