Dogs are highly active animals. As a dog owner, you know firsthand that there are times they are full of so much energy that you can barely keep up! And there may be other times where they sleep all day out of boredom. Part of owning a dog is making sure your dog leads the active life he deserves. Our team at East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, AZ has put together this list of 4 tips on how to keep your dog from being bored.
1. Make Sure Your Dog’s Environment Suits Him
If you try to keep a 115-pound Bernese mountain dog in a studio apartment, of course he’s going to be bored. He will have less room for boredom in a multi-bedroom house. A big yard will provide him with the space he needs to run and play. A smaller house or apartment is better suited for small breeds like bulldogs or chihuahuas. Make sure the size of your home is consistent with the size of your dog—it is your responsibility to ensure your dog has an appropriate amount of room to get the activity he needs to be healthy and happy.
2. Embrace Outside Time
Almost all dogs relish their outside time. That’s why it’s important to give them lots of it! Here are just a few fun things you can do with your dog outside:
- Walks are an essential part of your dog’s routine. But you can shake it up and make the regular routine fun. Dogs usually enjoy trying to keep up with you while you run. You can also take your dog to new places for exploring.
- Fetch. Who doesn’t love to play fetch?
- Swimming. A lot of dogs, such as Labs and German Shepherds, love the water. Take your dog swimming and you’ll be his best friend!
- Obstacle courses. Get creative, especially if you have a big yard. Build your dog an obstacle course. Let him jump over sticks and through hula hoops. Train him to do the whole course and then reward him with healthy treats!
3. Embrace Inside Time Too!
This winter has already been snowy for a lot of the country. If it’s too cold for you and your dog to spend much time outside, consider inside activities to do with your dog. Maybe basement fetch or an obstacle course made of pillows? You could even teach him to play hide-and-seek!
4. Pick the Right Toys
Your dog may be reluctant to play if he isn’t interested in his toys. Different dogs enjoy—and need—different kinds of toys. Consider buying a new toy or two for your dog. Just be sure to supervise him while playing with or chewing toys to ensure he doesn’t choke on or swallow any of the parts.
- Chew toys.
- Squeaky toys.
- KONGs. We love KONGs, and so do dogs, especially when they are filled with healthy treats!
- Puzzle toys. There are many different kinds of interactive puzzle toys on the market to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated.
Bored vs. Unhealthy
There is a difference between a bored dog and a dog who isn’t healthy. If your dog is bored, he’ll appear more restless than usual. There will be more tail-wagging and begging to go outside. The following behaviors, however, may indicate something more serious:
- Sluggishness or lack of energy. Even if your dog is elderly and doesn’t have the “spunk” he used to, a consistent lack of energy may be a problem.
- Lack of interest in playing or cuddling. A dog who wants to play will ask to play! A sudden disinterest in playing or snuggling may mean something is wrong.
- Constant crying or whining. An increase in vocalization may be a sign of pain, rather than a sign of boredom. You know your dog better than anyone—never ignore sudden changes in behavior, even if they are subtle.
Veterinary Care in Gilbert
At East Valley Animal Hospital, our top priority is helping you keep your dog healthy and happy! An important part of that is attending your dog’s annual wellness exams so we can provide your dog with the best care available. In the meantime, enjoy being active and playful with your dog—it’s good for your health too!