After weeks of COVID-19 confinement and finishing your fifth series binge, you might be wondering what else is there for you to do. Did you think of entertaining your pet? Because cats and dogs need to stay active during these times, here are some fun games and ideas to provide them with indoor and backyard entertainment.
Indoor games for dogs
Hide and seek
This game is perfect if you’ve taught your dog how to stay. When you’re ready, call out for your dog until they find you, then reward them with praises, friendly pats, belly rubs and treats, and then encourage them to find anyone else still hiding!
Hide a piece of dog food or a treat inside one hand, close both fists and hold them out towards your dog. Can they sniff out where the food is? Let them have the reward if they get it right!
Backyard games for dogs
Many dogs don’t even need to be taught this game: throw a ball, a favourite toy or a stick, and they’ll be thrilled to retrieve it and keep the fun going. For pets that need a little encouragement, you can try a Kong toy with treats inside.
Create an obstacle course
Lay any long-handled tool on the grass and encourage your dog to walk over it, rewarding him with a treat. Raise the bar a few inches at a time until they have to jump over it. Once your dog understands the game, expand it! Use whatever material you have in the shed to create an obstacle course your dog has to climb, jump, dodge and slide through.
Indoor games for cats
Use a laser pointer (aiming it away from their eyes) to point somewhere near your cat until you get their attention. Drag and point the laser in other places, or draw patterns on the floor, and encourage your cat to catch the elusive red dot.
If your children also need entertainment, this can double as fun family project. Use cardboard boxes to create a labyrinth of interconnecting rooms and tunnels, along with doors, windows and dead ends. Use catnip and treats to encourage your cat to explore the maze!
Backyard games for cats
If your home has a deck or a patio, you can turn it into an enclosed “catio” to give your cat some outdoor time while ensuring they stay safe from predators and traffic. There are many examples online for how cat owners have used various building supplies to create an outdoor adventure park. Make sure to include elevated areas your cat can jump onto!
Walking with a harness
If you’re not comfortable letting your cat roam free, you can still take them outside using a leash and harness (which prevents choking, compared to a collar). Don’t try to force your cat in a specific direction: let them explore while you follow along, keeping the leash firmly in hand in case you need to react quickly.
Don’t forget to talk to your veterinary team about your cat’s new outdoor activities, as they may recommend certain vaccines or parasite preventatives to keep your cat healthy.
Need more ideas? Check out this article for additional cat games and activities.