Playtime is an important part of caring for and loving our furry and feathered friends. Playtime provides benefits for our pets' physical and mental health and is more than just fun and games. Playtime enriches our pets' lives and ours as well.
Playing with our pets and allowing them to play with other animals helps them develop social and physical skills. For cats, play mimics instinctive wild skills like hunting, stalking, and pouncing. For dogs, playing games that require them to seek out hidden items, follow scent trials or make choices, helps them learn to use their brain and senses. Most breeds of dogs traditionally had jobs to do and will take readily to games and activities that mimic those jobs they were bred for.
Spending time with our pets is why we have them, right? Playing with our pets' is as much fun for us as it is for them and can become the favorite part of the day. It relieves stress and releases all those happy endorphins. Some dogs enjoy playtime so much that they will bring a favorite toy to use when they want to play, stand by the place where the toys are stored to drop not-so-subtle hints that they want to play.
Every pet needs some form of exercise. Play is good for physical well-being and maintaining musculature and healthy joints. Play burns off calories and energy. Good playtime gives pets a healthy appetite when mealtime arrives. Like bonding, this is something that we benefit from as well.
Playtime is an ideal time to help your pet improve the skills you are trying to teach them. For dogs, basic commands such as fetch, come, sit and so forth can easily be incorporated into different types of play, which will reinforce what you want your dog to learn and obey. For some dogs, learning advanced skills such as obstacle course running becomes a type of playtime as well. When your dog is learning skills and commands during playtime, they gladly join in the fun.
Animals get bored the same way we do. They need mental stimulation to keep them in a good state of mind, happy, interested, and away from trouble. Varying the types of play, and even the people they are playing with, can provide mental stimulation which helps to keep them alert. Interactive toys, like puzzles, are intellectually stimulating and keep pets challenged and engaged as they work to figure it out.
A bored pet may act out or resort to destructive behavior such as chewing, scratching, and digging to burn off pent up energy. You may see your pet nervously pacing, jumping around or disobeying commands when they need to get the exercise and attention that comes with playtime. This individualized playtime can make all the difference in their behavior.
Change It Up
Many people state they have backyards full of toys that their pet never plays with! Time to change. Encourage customers to rotate their pet's toys on a daily or weekly basis. If they don't see a toy for a week, it's like getting a new toy. Also, take and put away toys after a play session. This keeps them interested. Most of all, we need to play with our pets. Cats are less likely to play with toys when left alone and, while dogs will play by themselves, most prefer to play with us. We need to find different ways to play with our pets to keep things interesting. Instead of the same old game of fetch, how about spicing things up with a game of hide and seek? There are tug toys, water toys, bubbles, and more! We can usually tell immediately if it is something they like from their excited behavior, wagging tail or increased energy.
Go Have Fun Together
Playtime is one way we, as responsible pet owners, can show love and attention to our furry and feathered family members. It definitely makes them happy. Pull out a favorite toy and see how excited they get, and you will know how much playtime with you means to them.
Come in today to see our wide variety of toys and enrichment products for dogs, cats, birds, and small animals.