There’s a lot of debate about whether pets experience boredom like people do, but one thing’s for sure: sometimes when pets act out, it’s because they are restless and trying to keep themselves occupied in new and different ways. This is especially true of cats, dogs and parrots. If your pet suddenly acts out, becomes anxious or clingy, or displays some of the signs below, he or she may be bored.
Destroying part of your home or yard
Urinating or defecating outside appropriate places
Grooming too much
Barking/meowing/calling more than usual
Follow these easy tips to keep boredom at bay so your pet and you will be happy.
1. Rotate out toys. Pets are stimulated by new sights, smells and textures. Playing with the same toys over and over can get monotonous, so purchase new toys regularly, and switch them out for old ones to give your pet a variety of toy experiences.
2. Teach them tricks. The process of learning a new trick–including being rewarded with praise and treats–challenges your dog’s or parrot’s mind, preventing boredom. Plus, it gives them something to show off to friends and family for further praise!
3. Make sure your pet gets plenty of playtime and physical exercise. Physical exercise keeps pets from building up restless energy and keeps them at a healthy weight. Play chase games with your cat around the house or peek-a-boo with your parrot. Take dogs for regular walks or hikes (or hire Merry Petsto help!), or try an agility course for fun.
4. Supply activities or toys that challenge their minds. Making pets solve puzzles or work for their food stimulates their minds and their tastebuds. Place food bowls in different places around the house for your cat to keep his hunting instincts in tact. Attach a foraging toy to a parrot’s cage or hide a treat in a puzzle toy or maze toy to challenge dogs or cats to retrieve them.
5. Provide social time. Social interaction keeps you and your pet bonded and keeps boredom at bay. Introducing your pets to new games, people or places keeps their minds active as they take in new stimuli. According to Cesar Millan, “Every time your dog meets a new person or fellow canine, they are introduced to new sights, sounds and butts to sniff. Taking your pup to places like the dog park will provide him with ample opportunity to engage his senses.” Don’t hesitate to ask Merry Pets to help by taking your dog on a group hike or dog park trip!