By Linda Cole
Like humans, pets may need to find a way to release stress and pent up energy now and then. A bored pet can be destructive if left to find their own entertainment. Many a couch, window blind, pillow and lamp have fallen prey to a bored dog or cat searching for something fun to do. As responsible pet owners, it’s up to us to find ways to help keep our pet happy…and it’s also one of the best ways to help prevent bad behavior.
Think back to when you were a kid. Remember the conversation that began with “So, what do you wanna do?” followed by “I don’t know.” Periods of boredom follow us into adulthood. Instead of the child’s version of the question, adults are more creative, saying things like “I’m so bored I could kiss a bear” or some other statement that indicates a need for some excitement. Dogs and cats have their own version of that same conversation, except they act out their boredom by chewing on whatever they can find, destroying our furnishings, getting into the trash or attacking the shower curtain. Their need to get rid of pent up energy and deal with being bored is just as real as it is for us.
Pets spend a lot of time home alone, unless you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home. We can leave a pet with toys and interactive games to entertain themselves when they aren’t napping or staring out the window spying on the neighbors, but what they really want is exercise when we get home. Dogs and cats love to run and play with their owner. Even a simple game of keep away is exciting and works off excess energy. It really isn’t difficult to keep a pet happy when you give them plenty of positive attention that includes play. We really do mean everything to our pets, and they don’t ask for much in return. Playing with your pet doesn’t take up a lot of time and it can make the difference between a happy pet and one that’s bored and engaging in bad behavior.
One way to help pets left home alone deal with boredom is to leave some of their favorite CANIDAE treats stashed throughout the home. Searching for treats gives them a chance to use their hunting skills to find where you’ve hidden the goodies and helps them burn off energy.