The ongoing health crisis has turned life upside down, and pets feel it to. They may be getting some extra affection as pet parents stay home, but their activity time, especially outdoors, has taken a turn for the worse.
As a pet parent, you can easily make up for this by devising fun games to keep them playful and active, suggests Anushka Iyer, who spearheads Wiggles.in, a pet healthcare brand.
Get a bubble maker from the local store, if possible or turn a wire into a bubble ring. Take some soapy water and blow bubbles into your pet's direction. Watch the fun as your furry goofball will either try to chase them. Capture this in slow motion with your mobile. This one is sure to get a lot of giggles out of you when you play it again later. If your pets happen to celebrate their birthday amidst the lockdown, get a dozen balloons, blow them up and let your pet boop them while you enjoy the fun.
All pets love to fetch almost anything and everything. You can have fun throwing a tennis ball, a bundled-up rag cloth, a frisbee or even a football. Your furry friends will show agility and prowess and get it back to you for another round, all happy to make you throw it once again. The running around will give them the much needed physical exercise and keep them alert and active.
Go on long walks
All pets love their walks where they get to sniff the different smells and mark their territory. Go for short walks twice in a day if possible but closer to your home. Choose walk times when you come across a few people, so early mornings or late evenings work just fine.
Devise obstacle games to boost their agility
Pets love to jump over any obstacles in their path. You can set up household items like bottles, or boxes or even toilet paper as hurdles and keep adding levels to check their agility. If you have treats on the other end, your pets will try all things possible to gobble them up and, in the bargain, have fun jumping.
Splashing in the swimming pool
Splashing in the pool is fun for your pets as long as they have you to cheer them and play with! Besides, it is a good workout for both of you in the summer. If the pool has regular chlorine levels, then it is absolutely safe for your pet or you could use an inflatable pool. Just ensure that your pets drink plenty of water after they get out of the pool. Don't forget to give them a bath once they are out and dry their coat thoroughly. Swimming helps with muscle training and is also an excellent cardio workout for your dogs.
DIY toys and puzzles
Get your hands on a chew toy from an online pet store or even a pet shop closer home. A kong is a toy in which you can put in treats and give it to your pets to keep them engaged by trying to reach those tasty treats inside them. Peanut Butter or cold pressed coconut oil are good options to freeze and fill in. You can also make DIY toys at home with old t-shirts. Take an old cloth or t-shirt and convert it into a ball by tying the ends into a loose knot. Put your pet's favourite treats in them and watch them spend hours trying to find their treats. Take unused ice trays, freeze treats inside them. Watch your pets being patient to lick off the water and eat the hidden treat inside. You can also hide treats in the house and let them sniff their way to it. Pets love games that are challenging and such games heighten their sense of smell and stimulate them mentally.
Train your pets to do these simple tricks
The lockdown is the best time to teach them simple tricks like giving a paw five or even learning basic training commands like sit, stay, pawshake etc. Keep a treat as a reward or sometimes even your constant encouragement to them is reward enough with lots of petting and cuddles. This strengthens the bond between you and your pet.
Healthy food and a good sleep
Avoid giving your pets human foods like ice cream, sugar candies, biscuits, chocolates or cakes. Most baked goods contain xylitol which is harmful for pets. It is better to give them homemade food that is free from artificial fillers or preservatives. Cats can be given boiled fish and chicken while dogs can even be given boiled paneer and chicken. Just make sure that there are no bones in the meat. Speak to your vet about the portions to be given. Fruits like watermelon, apple, mango and vegetables like cucumber, carrot can be given but in moderation. If your pets eat a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet, chances of them being playful and alert are more. Let your pets get their beauty sleep after a meal. Most pets love to snooze all day, but it's up to you to engage them in some playful activity to keep them from becoming sluggish and inactive.
Be patient, engage your pets and have a great time bonding with them!
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