Even if your pet would like to take seven walks to the park in a day, we can’t always make it happen. Duty calls and things like work, the kids, or household chores take away some of the attention we’re able to provide our companions. If your pet is feeling the lack of attention and isn’t having their daily needs for physical and mental stimulation met, they’ll get bored quickly. And they won’t hesitate to let you know.
Signs Your Pet Is Bored
- Vocalizing - It’s normal for dogs to bark here and there, especially if someone’s at the door or if the outside world is getting a bit loud. But to excessively bark at every little occurrence in or outside of the house is a sign that they’re simply aching for something to do or want the attention. The same goes for meowing. Barking and meowing are your pet’s way of communicating with you. Just like they might be vocalizing for food or to use the bathroom, they may also be vocalizing “Let’s go play!” or “Please give me some attention.”
- Chewing - Chewing and nibbling are natural habits that both canines and felines have. It’s what their ancestors used to do. Plus, it helps them assert dominance. While some chewing is expected, such as for teething puppies, it’s still not ideal when your pet starts biting at your furniture. Or your fingers. But boredom is one of the top reasons for destructive chewing. It provides them with a lot of stimulation for a longer period of time, which is why they think your sofa is the closest thing to a bone.
- Jumping or Pawing - This is one of the most direct ways that your pet could beg for attention or something to do. If your dog or cat is jumping at you, pawing at you, licking you, and possibly even scratching at you (which is a perfect example of why you should groom your pet’s nails), they’re relying on you to interact with them and solve their issue of boredom.
- Sleeping More - If there’s not much else for them to do, why not sleep? Dogs are known to sleep for many hours throughout the day, and cats are notorious for sleeping even longer in addition to daily naps. Sleep is important, but too much of it can be an indicator that your furry friend just doesn’t have anything else to do.
- Eliminating Around the House - No pet owner wants to deal with this one. Eliminating anywhere outside of their usual potty spot, such as on walks or in the litter box, can be a form of attention seeking and acting up in order to receive some recognition. While it’s definitely inconvenient for the one cleaning up their mess, it achieves your pet’s goal of getting in the spotlight.
- Escaping - Both cats and dogs make excellent escape artists. Cats are nimble, agile, and great jumpers, making it easier for them to slip out of the house. Dogs could dig for hours, and sometimes that can be their ticket out of your backyard. When cats and dogs learn how to get under, over, or through the house doors, gates, or fences, it’s a mix of curiosity and wanting to be where the action is. The house will always be a source of comfort for them, but when they become bored, the outside world becomes so much more appealing. This is what fuels their want to escape.
How to Beat Boredom
Dogs and cats are all very unique and can have finicky personalities, but for the most part, they’ll appreciate spending any time with you. So to beat their boredom, dedicate time to finding a way to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. By providing them with a form of exercise or something to focus on, it zaps them of pent up energy and the excessive need for attention through destructive behaviors.
There are several ways that this can be achieved. Firstly, nothing beats a classic walk if you have a dog. Just taking them for a walk or jog around the neighborhood already gives them the opportunity to experience new sounds, scents, and sights outside of the four walls of your home. Make it even more special by stopping by your local dog park. Your pet will be able to receive attention from other animal lovers while also socializing and romping with the neighborhood pooches. If you and your canine are a bit more adventurous, try out other forms of exercise and activities. Swimming, hiking, camping, and going to the beach are all great options. All of these will keep you and your companion in shape while also giving them a good time.
Getting your cat to exercise isn’t exactly the same as getting your dog to exercise. It’s less commonly seen, but you can actually train your kitty to go for walks using a leash. But more often pet parents will get their cat moving by providing them with toys. Furry mice, balls, wands, teasers, and catnip infused sticks will encourage your cat to jump and wriggle around to chase the toy, which in turn requires a lot of their focus. Cat scratch posts are especially good for beating boredom in felines. They have so many benefits. From keeping their claws sharp to allowing them to mark their territory and stretch out their bodies, your tabby will be occupied for a very long time.
Dog toys can provide the same entertainment for your dog. Similar to cats, by giving them access to a simple ball, disk, plush animal, puzzle, or other type of plaything, they can learn to keep themselves occupied and amused. In the process of having fun they’ll also be developing their muscles or strengthening their teeth.
Providing your cat or dog with the sufficient exercise and toys they need is certainly sure to make your pet’s day more fun and enjoyable, but they’ll appreciate it even more if they feel they’re receiving adequate attention from you. You can prevent your pet from developing destructive habits and even poor mental health by spending time with them to play and bond.