Original article by Laura Drucker, Tails Magazine
Our pets are a huge part of our lives. However, they are not the only part of our lives, and that means that sometimes you will be busy and your pet will be bored.
Boredom manifests itself through bad behavior. A bored dog may chew on things he knows he’s not supposed to, bark excessively, or dig up your yard. A bored cat, meanwhile, tends to act aggressively, eliminate outside of the litter box, and constantly be grooming and scratching. Boredom is not uncommon in dogs and cats, but it is potentially harmful if it goes too long without being addressed. Excessively bored pets can become aggressive, depressed, or even ill.
Maybe your pet isn’t acting out, but is simply staring at you begging for attention when you really need to get something else done. Either way—there are some simple things you can do to deal with and prevent pet boredom.
Make Sure Your Pet Gets Plenty of Time to be Active
Staying active is a great way for your pet to beat boredom. Your pet should be getting lots of opportunities to play in non-confined spaces. For dogs, walks and fetch are great means for exercise and stress-relief. Cats don’t require as much activity, but a climbing tree or tower will provide some much needed freedom to roam.
Get Creative with Toys
When it comes to toys, it’s definitely more about quality than quantity. Interactive toys—such as those that require your pet to figure out how to release a treat—are awesome boredom busters. Hide toys around in the house in your pet’s favorite places for them to find. And rotate what toys are available to your pet so that their options are fresh and engaging.
Maybe you can’t adopt another pet, but if you know somebody who has a dog or a cat that gets along with yours, try bringing them together for some playtime. Your pet will appreciate getting to socialize and having a companion, and you will appreciate how much less stressed they seem. For your dog, consider doggy daycare if you’re going to be out of the house a lot.
Keep Your Pet Healthy
A healthy pet is a happy pet. Feeding your pet a healthy, well-balanced diet, always having water available, and making sure their space is clean goes a long way towards dealing with behavioral problems that may come about from boredom.
Always Find Time For Your Pet
It is crucial that you make sure you are giving your pet one-on-one attention every day. Training, playing, bathing, and belly scratching are all great ways to show your pet how much you care. It won’t cure boredom, but it will help with your pet’s health and general well-being.
Be conscious of your pet’s mood, and do your best to keep your pet engaged and active. You both will be happier for it!
Education is the first step in pet poison prevention.
Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The Pet Poison Helpline provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:
Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by clicking here
A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.
Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.
Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.
In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.
Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information. Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.