Maureen and Rae here-happy June from All Pet and Home Care! Summer is right around the corner and while we have no idea what summer is actually going to look like, we wanted to give you some ideas of fun outdoor things you can do at home with your pets. Rae and I both wrote pieces to this blog and we hope you enjoy it. You have no idea how much we miss all of our clients. Many of these ideas are not only fun but also mentally enriching.
Pablo the chihuahua is learning dog agility. We made a homemade course, built for his tiny size. He has been practicing a couple of tricks at a time. He loves jumping over the pole at various heights and through the hula hoop. Next up are weave poles. We bought some pool noodles and turned them into poles. Pablo loves to learn new things. He seems to be enjoying this. Maybe he will be the new world champion agility Chihuahua!
There are many fun things you can do with a kiddie pool for your dog, besides filling it with water for a cool down. For some fun mental stimulation, you can fill it with balls instead of water and hide treats through them. Dogs have a blast digging through the balls to find the treats. You may also throw balls into the water for a game of water fetch. Or make a “doggie” version of bobbing for apples. Place carrot pieces and/or hot dog pieces in the water and let your pups “fetch” for them. For cold-weather breeds such as Huskies, fill the pool with ice for them. They will be particularly excited about this!
For a nice cold treat on a hot day, take a pie pan and fill it with water and healthy treats and freeze. Some summertime favorites to add are berries, watermelon, pineapple, carrots, green beans, sardines, anchovies. Once frozen, remove it from the pie pan and let your pets enjoy (outside of course). Smaller versions of these using only fish or meat, are great for cats, too. Just leave it in the pan to avoid a mess. A frozen Kong is always a crowd pleaser! You may add the same summer items as above for a special treat.
Cardboard is always a great pet toy or game. We all know the value of a cardboard box for our cats (so you better be sharing!) but did you know that paper towel tubes and toilet paper roll tubes make great treat hiding games for both cats and dogs? Place the treat inside and fold the ends closed. You also get to witness what kind of problem solver your pet is. Will he study it to figure out how to open the ends, or will he go for the gusto and rip it to shreds with his teeth, revealing the treat inside? This is a great place to hide catnip for kitty, also. It is inexpensive entertainment for both you and your pet.
Hiding treats under paper or plastic cups is also fun for your dog or cat. Do not hide treats under every cup. Make them sniff out which ones have them. Pablo has become very good at this game! If you have a large dog, you may use buckets, boxes or clean plastic planters. For cats and small dogs, "Dixie" cups work well.
Snuffle mats and interactive puzzle games are great boredom busters and easy to purchase online. Even better, get creative and make your own! Just use items safe for your pet. Anything that rewards with a treat is guaranteed to be a hit!
Many indoor cats enjoy getting to sniff or taste items from outside. Consider making your cat a toy out of a fresh stick and bird feather found outside. Bring home some organic catnip plants from your local greenhouse. Your kitty friends will thank you. And not only is it healthy and fun for your cats it is also a natural insect repellent.
How about a stroller for your cat or small dog? While we know some may view this as a bit ridiculous and it is certainly funny to see, I, Maureen, have pushed a client's dog named Tony in a stroller. We walked around the North Park loop in a stroller and in his neighborhood. Tony was known for walking and stopping, which would then require him to be carried home. His mom got him a stroller as a backup or just something else to do. I absolutely loved taking him in the stroller. This stroller is fully enclosed so there is no escaping unless you open the “hatch”. I have seen cats in strollers but do not have first-hand experience pushing a cat in a stroller. I have no doubt some cats would really enjoy it. I also think it can be a fun summer activity for kids to do with their pets.
If you have a swimming pool and pets, I am sure you are already aware of safety measures to take. Never leave them unattended in the pool, or alone with children. And do not allow them to drink the pool water. If you have a dog that tends to overdrink, pay close attention to them when they are in or around any pools or bodies of water. Very excessive amounts of drinking water can be harmful to your pets.
We hope your pet enjoys summer with some of these fun games and ideas. Have a sunny and warm June!
Maureen, Rae, and all the staff at All Pet and Home Care