By Dr. Al Townshend
Dedicating time during each day to play with your pet is essential for the health of the pet and for your relationship with the pet.
Both dogs and cats have evolved as active, intuitive animals. They need physical and mental stimulation to maintain their physical and mental health. Inactivity and boredom can lead to all sorts of issues with your pets.
Puppies and kittens need play. It helps to develop coordination, hunting skills and works to encourage socialization whether with other family pets, or their Guardians.
Fun and play are all about activity and, like we Guardians, an active pet is a healthy pet.
- Studies have shown that pets that have adequate play time every day live a longer and healthier life.
- Exercise stimulates and conditions the heart and lungs.
- Activity lubricates the joints and tones the muscles that support the joints.
- Play burns calories and helps to maintain a lean body mass.
- Because cats are known to be easy to keep, many believe they don’t need as much attention. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cats get the same benefits from play as dogs.
- Both dogs and cats can get bored if they have nothing to do, and that can lead to frustration and in some cases, behavioral issues.
- Play is a great stress reliever for pets.
- Encouraging a cat to uses its hunting prowess is fun and rewarding.
- Puzzles and simple mental challenges can be great fun. Just tugging on a rope is great fun and a mental challenge for a dog. Cats love the mental and physical challenge of grabbing that object you are swinging through the air.
- The bond between the pet and the Guardian is an essential part of the relationship we have with our pets. A close interaction between the pet and the Guardian is essential, and playtime is where the bond is strongly supported.
- Training should be a fun and exciting game. Making it part of playtime can stimulate the pet’s mind and body.
- Training is essential in preventing bad habits from becoming a problem.
- 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.
- Playtime and training with your pet can make the pet more social and helps to mold their personality.
There are many toys and games available to enhance playtime for our pets. Check with the Ambassadors at your Pet Planet store for all the items available for play.