With more people practicing social distancing and staying home, pets are enjoying extra time with their favorite humans. While we may be excited with these added bonding opportunities, keeping pets entertained throughout the day can be challenging. You might be asking yourself, what are some fun ways to bust boredom and relieve stress? The Freely team wants to share several activities we love to do with our pets!
Increased snuggle time
Dedicated snuggle time is good for both you and your pet. Physical contact can help our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone that helps with mental well-being and comfort. What cat or dog wouldn’t want more affection? Break the trend of social distancing safely by curling up on the couch with your favorite furry friend!
Revamp your pet’s grooming routine
We all admit that finding time to stay on top of our pet’s grooming needs can be challenging. Now that spring is here, shedding season has added to our grooming workload. Take the time to gently brush out your pet’s coat to tame shedding and furballs. This is also a great opportunity to tackle other grooming tasks like trimming nails, brushing teeth with a pet-safe toothpaste, or cleaning their ears. Not all pets enjoy long grooming sessions, so you may want to break up your pet’s spa day to keep it as fun and relaxing as possible.
Make your home a jungle gym
Pet parents might get bored staying inside all day, but with a bit of imagination and creativity, your house can be an amusement park for your pet. Discovering new ways for your pet to interact with their environment can also be a fun activity. For our favorite felines, try placing small portions of their dry food in interesting spots for them to find. You can also set out strategically placed bird feeders for them to watch. This makes the indoors more interactive and visually stimulating. Dogs love special puzzle-type toys such as snuffle mats or treat dispensing balls. A game of fetch with a soft toy can be great fun too, but be careful not to break anything! You can also hide kibble or healthy treats in overturned cups and other sneaky places around the house to keep your pup’s brain engaged.
Play games and teach some new tricks
What better time for a refresher on old lessons? Short training sessions scattered throughout the day are much more effective than longer ones conducted less frequently. Now would be a great time to work on their manners, like sitting for dinner or loose-leash walking. You can also try adding tricks to your pet’s repertoire, such as bow or high-five. Using your pet’s kibble as treats or plenty of verbal praise will help keep those calories in check as you train your pet more.
Outside is still an option
While going to the dog park and other meetups is a social distancing no-no, being outdoors is great for both you and your pet’s physical and mental health. Consider using your normal commute time to take your dog on an extra walk. This will help you stay in a regular routine while giving your pet additional exercise. You can also enjoy some fresh air together by inviting your pet outside while you’re doing yard work or onto the balcony where you may have moved your home office. If you choose to spend time outdoors during this period, please do your part to flatten the curve by following social distancing guidelines as set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Revamp those New Year’s Resolutions
It’s easy to get sidetracked after making resolutions in January, particularly with everything in the news these days. Your pet can be a great partner to help get you back on track! You may not be on the same training regime, but it’s nice to have a non-judgmental and supportive ally to keep you accountable. Whether your pet joins you while exercising, supervises during house projects, or snuggles in as you read more, they are surely happy to spend the extra time with you. Pet tip: Want to make a habit of doing this activity at the same time every day? Try associating that activity with giving your pet a treat or extra affection. They’ll be sure to let you know when it’s time to begin as they are expecting a reward!
Talk it out
Many of us are under a great deal of stress with the uncertainty around the spread and impact of COVID-19. Believe it or not, pets make great listeners and love getting attention even if they aren’t exactly sure what you’re saying. Talking to your pet will help you two bond while giving you an outlet when you need a friend to listen.
We hope you found these ideas helpful. We’d love to know how you and your pet are spending your extra time together. Post your pictures on Instagram or Facebook and tag @FreelyPet.