Adjusting to working and learning from home can take time for people — and for pets. While you and your loved ones practice safe social distancing, remember to take some simple steps to make things easier for your animal friends.
As animal lovers know well, dogs and cats are remarkably perceptive, and are very good at sensing when things are different. Dogs and cats may not be used to seeing their humans around the house so much, and they may be excited, rambunctious, and affectionate from all the extra playtime and cuddles.
Looking for fun ways to keep your cats and dogs active and entertained at home? Here are a few paw-some ideas for animal lovers to try out right now:
While Illinois and other states have Stay-at-Home orders in place, people and pets are still allowed outside for exercise. This can be a great chance to give your dog the chance to get some exercise, while giving you the opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
Keep up your daily structure, as much as possible. Take your pet for walks on a regular basis, and practice safe distancing while you’re out and about. Before you go out, be sure to look and see if your favorite local dog parks and forest preserves are open. Avoid crowded parks and greenspaces, and try to stay roughly six feet away from others when in public. If you have a fenced-in yard or garden, you can also let your dog out to play, just as you normally would. Always wash your hands thoroughly when you come back inside and after handling your pet.
Put On a Podcast or Video
Need to keep your furry friend entertained while you put your focus elsewhere? Believe it or not, there are actually lots of shows designed specifically for animals.
Earlier this year, for instance, Spotify launched My Dog’s Favorite Podcast, which includes soothing soundscapes and music specifically designed to help dogs relax and enjoy some quiet time — so you can focus on working, cooking dinner, or tackling your to-do list.
There are also lots of videos on YouTube meant to provide background noise and visuals for both cats and dogs. You can also sign up for DogTV for content scientifically developed to give dogs company and entertainment.
Make New Toys
Looking for a project? Making new toys for your pets can be a great activity for the whole family. From sewing together new chew toys, to putting together DIY puzzles and games, let your creativity run free!
Need some inspiration? BarkPost has some wonderful ideas for making dog toys from items you can find around the house right now, from tennis balls to bath towels. You can make fun toys for guinea pigs and rabbits out of pine cones, egg cartons, and other odds and ends. For cats? Don’t underestimate the play factor of simple household objects like string, paper bags, and cardboard boxes. You can find some fun and easy DIY cat toy ideas in this great article from Care.com.
Create New Games…
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? If you have some free time, work with your friends and family to come up with new games to play with your pet. For example, you could set up a simple, fun “food puzzle,” which can turn mealtimes into interactive entertainment. You can find interactive feeders and puzzles for purchase online, or find instructions for making your own DIY version.
Similarly, you and your family could set up a new burrowing station for your pet by arranging old blankets, pillows, or rugs. If you have the space, set up a miniature obstacle course for your dog or cat, or spend some time teaching your pup to sit, roll over, or shake hands. Learning new activities and commands is a great form of positive mental stimulation for dogs.
…Or Go to Your Favorite Classics
When you need a break from work, playing with your pet can be a great way to relax and unwind. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel! If you have room for fetch, play fetch with a soft toy. Just make sure your space is free and open enough for play. For more ideas for indoor play, from tug-of-war to hide-and-seek, check out this guide from the American Kennel Club.
We Are Here For You
How are you keeping your pets entertained and active? What tips and tricks would you share with all the other animal lovers in Chicagoland? We’d love to hear your ideas!
With all the uncertainty right now, we want you to know that we are here for you, no matter what. We understand that you still have important real estate decisions to make, and our mission is to make achieving those goals easier.
We will continue to provide the most updated information and guide you through this extraordinary time with a calm and steady hand. Please rest assured that while we are instituting the CDC’s health safety and prevention protocols across all our businesses and office locations, we are still operational and ready to continue serving you.