18 Interactive Pet Toys to Fight Pet Boredom & Loneliness
You've seen the pics online. A guilty dog stares at the camera while behind him lies a mountain of destruction: ripped wallpaper, a tipped-over trash can, a pillow leaking feathers.
Pets left alone for hours often suffer from separation anxiety and/or boredom as they wait for their owners to return home. Loneliness can lead to unwanted behaviors such as chewing on your favorite shoes, hiding, and even vomiting. Pet stress can also be triggered by common situations such as houseguests, renovations, or even a new baby. Add fireworks, loud music, and raucous parties to the list too.
What can you do to help your cat or dog cope? Turn to enrichment toys and puzzle games designed to reduce pet stress. These products keep cats and dogs mentally stimulated and physically engaged so they're more relaxed, not as anxious about being alone, and less bothered by their environment.
Enrichment toys offer different levels of difficulty and a variety of challenges. Most are reward-based, which means they involve yummy treats or food. For cats, catnip buds or even a catnip spray will help rev up feline curiosity and lead to pouncing and playing. Check out the 18 interactive toys we found to keep your pet engaged and entertained.
The Ins & Outs of Toys
Pounce on these tips for sharing puzzle toys with your furry friend.
- Start with simple toys, then let your pet's intellect and curiosity dictate interest in more advanced games.
- Choose toys that are appropriate for your dog's size and chewing style (such as teething, moderate, aggressive, or aging). Toys that are too small for your dog can be a choking hazard.
- Introduce pets to puzzle toys by placing treats in sections that are left open. Once pets' noses take over, close the sections after filling and let the games begin.
- Some puzzle toys can be used as feeders. Just fill them with your pet's daily food allowance.
- Slow down dogs that eat too fast with food puzzle toys.
- Dogs that refuse to eat will often eat more when a puzzle toy makes them work harder for their food.
- Wash food-dispensing toys daily and rinse them to avoid the buildup of bacteria.
- Treats should not provide more than 10 percent of your pets' daily calorie intake.