Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows how much of a rewarding experience they can be.
They make great companions and can keep us on our toes mentally and physically and while it’s great for us, it’s also hugely important their own mental wellbeing that they are also stimulated.
Be it a dog, cat or rabbit, challenging them with the appropriate games and toys will enrich their lives as well as your own. So if you think your pet might be becoming bored or if you are just looking to encourage and motivate them a little more, here are a few things that might just do the trick!
Getting you dog into a routine is essential to keep them happy and disciplined. However just like us, they can become bored and disinterested by following the same pattern every day. Taking your dogs to new places further afield from your local parks is a great way to break up any monotony, giving them new sights, sounds and scents that will be exciting for them and a fantastic way to bond.
While walks are a great motivator, if the rain starts, it’s best to have a backup plan in case you and you dog are trapped in the house for the day. The Kong chew toy is a simple but great device. Made from a durable rubber and hollow so that you can also stuff with food, The Kong is a fun and useful treat dispenser that will keep you dog busy for hours and their brain and body active as they manipulate the Kong to get to the goodies inside. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, so it’s perfect for both big dogs and small.
Cats can be more difficult to stimulate both because they are more independent than dogs but also because they are not all motivated by food. Food dispensers like Kong’s Cat Treat Ball (£2.99) could still work great for you but if your moggie isn’t interested in the treats, then you may have to find other ways to motivate them.
Thankfully there are other options to pursue including one thing no cat can ignore, their need to hunt. Cat’s love to leap, stalk and pounce on their prey and there has been a new wave of apps available for tablets and iPads that can really play to their natural hunting instincts.
Pocket Pond (Free) is a great app that turns your tablet’s screen into a rock pond filled with as many fish and dragonflies as you would like. It makes a great distraction for your cat and as you add more fish to the pool, they will love to paw at the water, while safe in your own home.
Or if you’re looking for something you can use to join in with the cat’s fun, the Cat Dangler Pole Bird (£1.49) might be a better option. Essentially a small fishing rod with feathers attached that you can control to imitate a bird, no cat will be able to resist chasing after it and it’s a lovely way to spend some time with them.
A rabbit’s love of exploration can give you a lot of options to keep them active and happy. Letting them out of their hutch to explore your garden or home or even creating new tunnels and boxes using cardboard, will appeal to their curious nature. If you are planning to use cardboard you’ll want to stay near in case it becomes a choking hazard, which is uncommon, but it gives you a good excuse to spend some extra time with them anyway.
The other great love of the rabbit, chewing, may cause you a little bit more of a problem if you don’t have a few solutions to let them sink their teeth into. Left unchecked some rabbits will chew through anything, including you own furniture, chew toys such as these Willow Sticks will keep them happy and your sofa in one piece. You’re best buying a large selection of chew toys as rotating them every few weeks will keep them fresh and interesting for your bunny.
What are your favourite toys and games to keep your pet active?