4 signs your pets are bored and what to do about it
Boredom affects all of us, humans, cats, dogs. It may not look like it when you’re home with your pet – they sleep A LOT, right?!
But what about when you’re not around to entertain them, and they can take themselves ot the park, or swish a teaser through the air?
A few signs that your pet is bored include:
1. Barking and howling.
Whether it’s just barking at passing cars, birds, or a visiting cat. It can be a recipe for disaster if you have neighbours who aren’t as understanding as you are about your own pets
2. Chewed Shoes, clothing and furniture. Let’s call it “shenanigans”.
A bored dog can wreak havoc with your personal possessions. It took me 5 pairs of shoes before I got the picture that I needed to lock away my stuff! And don’t be fooled into thinking a cat won’t do the same – I’ve come home to chewed up bills and a laptop covered in pee.
Why would our pets want to run away? We give them everything. Yet we came home to Yoyo on the front porch many time, and if you follow us on Facebook, you know that Honey ran off TWICE soon after we rescued her. With nothing to keep them occupied, dogs will dig and run in search for the next adventure.
4. Separation anxiety when you leave, and uber excitement when you come home.
If your dog zooms and jumps when you get home, they could just be excited to see you, but it could also mean they were bored out of their brains while you were gone.
How DO you solve the boredom problem? Here are a few suggestions that work for me.
1. Keep them busy and occupied when you're away.
Cats - Make sure cats have adequate scratching surfaces (other than your furniture). We have quite a few cat scratch trees of different heights - some they can stretch against, and others they can climb.
Dogs - Long lasting treats and puzzle feeders are a must. A timed feeder that goes off at intervals during the day is a great solution. Avoid feeding your dog from a regular bowl and go with an interactive feeder instead.
2. Take them for walks.
There's nothing like a good long walk to tire out a dog (and you!) Cats can get in on the act too.
Dogs - If you can manage a morning walk, that will help. If you can't, consider a dog walker, or someone to come and play during the day, especially if your dog is prone to really destructive behaviour. A pair of shoes might not be a big deal, but an entire couch might!
Cat - They're curious! Take them through the neighbourhood (on a good harness and lead made especially for cats) and they might reward you for it with a calmer demeanour.
Both cats and dogs love to play, even as they age. Find their favourite style - Yoyo loved to fetch balls, while Honey likes a little bit of a wrestle. For cats, anything that dangles or scatters, like a spring or even a laser is a winner in this house.
4. Swap out the toys
Pull out 3-5 of their favourites at a time. Don't leave every single toy out or they will get bored. Make them excited again by hiding toys for days or even weeks at a time. When you do bring a toy out again after an absence, watch the excitement!
5. For indoor cats and dogs, give them a way of going outside on their own.
We've built a netted cat run down the side of the house, and friends have netted the balcony of their apartment to allow their cats to come and go in safety. If you have dogs, a doggy door will allow them the freedom to explore the great outdoors, even if you're not home. Even if you rent, there are great dog door solutions!
6. Doggy Daycare.
If you're short on time and not so short on cash, investing in daycare is money well spent. Look for recommended daycares in your area. Your dogs will be entertained, trained, and very tired when you get home!
Create an enriching environment for your cats and dogs and you will be rewarded with happy, healthy and well behaved pets.