Playtime is an important part of a pet’s exercise program and socialization. All pets benefit from play as it:
- Is a form of exercise
- Prevents boredom
- Relieves stress
- Prevents obesity
- Increases the bond between you and your pet
- Builds confidence
- Is fun
Important play tips
- Always get permission from a grown-up before playing with your pet.
- Be Gentle: Gently stroke the pet on the chest and shoulders: avoid the neck, face, feet and tail.
- Approach Slowly: Move slowly around a pet.
- Be quiet and confident around your dog.
- Be careful not to step on your pet.
- Wear a long-sleeved top when playing with your cat.
- Show the pet that you want to approach slowly by crouching down and lowering your hand. Let your pet come to you.
- Always wash your hands after playing with your pet.
- Do not approach a dog when it is eating, sleeping or toileting.
- Do not pull the ears or tail.
- Do not play in the area of the pet’s toilet
- Do not corner a pet.
- Do not let your pet lick your face, eyes or mouth
- Never reach into your pet’s kennel or crate. Let your pet come out to you.
- Do not take a toy from your pet.
- Do not scream or scare your pet.
Fun games to play with your pet
Hide n Seek
In the same room, hide behind a door or furniture and call your cat’s name. When your cat finds you, reward them with a small treat or by petting them gently. Once your cat gets good at this, choose another room or a bigger area in the house.
Most dogs enjoy a game of fetch. Safely and gently throw a Frisbee or ball. When your dog returns, hold up a treat and command them to drop. If your pet drops the toy, give them the treat. Cats too can learn how to fetch. Using a small toy like a lightweight ball or stuffed mouse, throw it gently across the floor and allow your cat to chase it. Once caught, call your cat back and see if it returns the toy. Practice makes perfect.
In a dark room, create a beam of light with a flashlight. Without shining the light into your pet’s eyes, move the beam of light across the floor and watch your cat chase it.
Fishing pole toys
Wand-type toys with dangling feathers or streamers are a lot of fun for your cat. Moving the pole in a snake-like or mouse-like movement can excite your cat to play. Make sure you put the toys away after playing with them. Don’t let your cat play with this type of toy if you are not around.
It’s important for both cats and dogs to be comfortable on a leash.
Cool Games in the Sun
- Wading Pools: Create a shallow wading pool for your dog to play in.
- Frozen Treats: Dogs often like to play with ice blocks. For those fussy pets, add a bit of chicken or beef stock before freezing them.
- Kong Fun: Add some frozen treats to the Kong and watch your pet play for hours.
- Beach or Lake Fun: Go swimming in the water and bring along a pet lifejacket for your pet.