Although we may love our pets and try to be sure they get enough exercise, we can sometimes forget to spend time playing with a pet. Supervising a dog that is running in the dog park or watching a cat play with a new toy is not enough. Pets also need our undivided attention and our interaction with them and playing with a pet doesn’t have to take up a lot of our time.
Dogs are social pack animals and your dog sees you as the leader of the pack. It’s important for dogs to have focused attention from the pack leader and it’s important for your dog to interact with you. Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day playing with a pet dog. It can be as simple as playing fetch in the yard by throwing your dog’s favorite toy around. Many dogs loved to be chased and this will give you some exercise too!
Cats are considered much more socially independent than dogs, but they also need some of your time playing with them each day. As little as 5 or 10 minutes of letting them pounce on a toy attached to a string that you pull along the floor can be enough for many cats. Some cats prefer to chase balls being rolled on the floor. The thing to remember when playing with a pet is to engage them in activities that they seem to enjoy. Often, your cat’s purr will let you know!
When playing with a pet, you don’t have to have expensive or even bought toys. Especially with cats, you can use things around the house such as string to chase or a cardboard box to climb in. Be sure to keep safety first at all times though. Also avoid aggressive play such as tug of war with dogs in which they grab onto an object and you try to pull it from their teeth. Avoid using your hands to play-fight with cats even when they’re kittens as this can lead to aggressive behavior that can be difficult to deal with in full-grown cats.