Ways To Keep Your Pet Engaged And Enriched During Lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a massive toll on everyone’s physical and mental well being. This global situation of quarantine and social distancing has impacted not only humans but your beloved pets as well.
The daily routine and normal activities of your pets have changed drastically. Due to reduced outdoor time and activities, it is very stressful and mentally exhausting for them. Larger and bigger pets are having a harder time in confined indoor spaces too. The boredom itself can make your precious pets become despondent and gloomy, which can eventually lead to depression.
A lot of pet owners are unaware of the fact that animals can suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders as well.
Pets have an acute sense of the overall vibe of the house. A positive and happy vibe in the house can lift up the mood for them during this sombre time. A loving environment and a few tricks to keep your pets engaged can make a world of difference.
Here are a few ways that would help keep your loyal friends occupied and happy:
1) Regular Physical Activity
Behavioural problems such as aggression, destructive chewing can be triggered in pets due to lack of regular exercise. There are varied needs for exercise for different kinds of pets. Younger pets need more physical exercise than their older counterparts. As the lockdown has imposed restrictions, pet owners might find it a tad difficult to take pets for more outdoor activities. In this scenario, a few options could be looked into, as follows:
- A certain section of the house can be cleared out for the pets to run or play.
- If your house has a staircase then you make the pets run up and down the flight of stairs.
- Personal garden, backyard, balconies, or terrace space is a boon during the lockdown phase. Exercise for pets in the fresh air of open spaces, even small ones, are better than being cooped up indoors all day.
2) Explore indoor games and activities
A little bit of creativity would be required to create an indoor setting of fun and games for your pets. Safety should be given prime importance when playtime is in a confined space.
- Innovative obstacle courses – Furniture needs to be rearranged a bit to create an indoor game of obstacles. Painters’ tape in varied colors or limbo bars can be put on doorways or corridors for your pets to jump over or go under. Obstacles should be fashioned which is appropriate to the size and age of your pet.
- Bubble Chase - Bubbles give a sense of wonder to your cute pets. All you need is some soap water and a blower to create bubbles. Pets would love to jump around and pop them.
- Hide and Seek - An interesting game of hide-and-seek could be a fun way to keep your pets engaged. Wait till your pets are distracted, then hide and call out to them. Inundate them with cuddles and treats once they find you. You can also hide treats or even their meals and make them go on a ‘food-finding mission’.
- Game of Fetch - This age-old game is a favorite for all pets and pet owners. Sticks, balls, and even Frisbees could be used to play this game. Alternating the ‘fetch toys’ could shake up the game routine and make it more interesting for your pets.
- Tug-of Wars - Take their favorite toy away and they will definitely want to take it back from you. Just the perfect excuse for you to indulge in a tug-of-war with your darling pet. Toys like plastic tug bottles or ball tug toys are also available online. Even an old towel could be used for the great game of ‘tug-of-war’. Spontaneous tug of wars proves to be high cardio workouts and instant joy.
- Pet Toys - Laser toys, chew toys, squeaky toys, etc. keep the pets busy in a productive way. Innumerable online sites have a whole range of toys for various pets. It is important to make the right pick for your pet according to their species and age. A continuous rotation of toys would negate the chances of your pets getting bored.
- Cognitive Games - Brain stimulating games like pet puzzles, shell games, interactive feeders, are an awesome way to enhance their minds. Making your pets forage for food can be both mentally as well as physically stimulating for them. Cognitive games will teach your pet to be resilient and patient. Obedience training can help them become well-behaved and your eternal helping hand. Make sure to start off at an easy level and then gradually pique it up. They might lose interest if they find the games or instructions too difficult in the initial stage.
3) Nutritious Diet and Relaxation
As pet owners, you need to remember not to overindulge your pets in junk food or too many treats. As pets are unable to get proper physical activity, food portions and daily calorie intake should be controlled. Big meals would increase their waistline and increase obesity and related health problems.
Timely and wholesome meals would curb cravings and regulate their appetite. Please ensure a gradual change in dietary changes in line with the new lockdown lifestyle, to avoid digestion related problems. A bustling house is enjoyable for your pets but can be quite arduous over a long period of time.
Lack of sleep could make them irritable and overly tired. Pets need a minimum number of hours for sleeping. A safe spot for your pets to enjoy some quiet resting time is a good idea and should be implemented.
These are just some ways to keep your pets gainfully occupied during the lockdown. Do remember to opt for an activity that is the best fit for your pet.
Bundles of pampering and loads of cuddles could help pets as well as you to cope with the mental anxiety of being locked down. A flexible attitude along with love and patience is much needed during this challenging time of lockdown.
We hope that this guide has been helpful and given you some great ideas on how to keep your dog mentally stimulated.
Love from the Aurora Pets family x