“I’m bored.” “When can I go outside to play?” “I’m tired of sleeping.” “I’ve gotta go potty!” “SOMEONE THROW MY TOY!” Sound familiar? It may not be what you say every day, but you can bet these thoughts go through your dog’s head all day every day while you are at work. Your day is filled with physical and mental stimulation. What does your dog get to do? Do you really think he wants to sleep all night and then all day when you’re away?
But rather than feel guilty or like a negligent pet owner, there are many ways to keep your dog entertained and stimulated while you’re away from the house. Here are ten of our favorites:
1. Kong filled with treats
A favorite toy/treat combination is a Kong filled with something yummy. And a frozen Kong works wonders. Simply blend up a mixture of apples, peanut butter, bananas, and non-fat plain yogurt with a little water and freeze them in ice-cube trays. Pop a few cubes into the Kong when you head out, and this treat will be a fun distraction that can last hours. And if you don’t have frozen cubes ready to go, filling it with peanut butter is equally satisfying for your dogs.
2. Chew toy
Providing something for your dog to chew on that will take ages (well, maybe not that long) to finish is another great way to keep them occupied. A pig’s ear is a good choice, but if you don’t want it to be food, nylon bones flavored with chicken or beef are also favorites.
3. A movie
It may sound funny, but putting a movie on for your dog will definitely keep them entertained. There are videos geared toward dogs that are alone in the house for an extended period of time. These videos replicate sights and sounds from the outdoor environment.
4. Treat dispensers
Stimulate your dog’s brain while he is alone by buying an interactive toy. There are twister treat dispensers and puzzle feeders that take a lot of work in order to get a little treat. Large nylon bouncy balls are easy for your dog to chase, move, and bounce around the house—it’s almost like they can play fetch with themselves. The Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug Treat Dispenser Toy is a great choice.
Exercising your dog in the morning before you leave for work is a great way for them to burn energy and get worn out at the start of the day. A brisk run around the block or a quick game of catch will do wonders. Then when you leave, there’s less of a chance for your dog to get into trouble inside the house.
6. Hide toys and treats around the house
As your dog is bored and searching for something to get into, he’ll be pleasantly surprised by a hidden toy or treat. These toys and treats will provide mental stimulation and keep him on his toes looking for other surprises.
7. Feed largest meal in the morning
If your dog has a full tummy first thing in the morning, he’ll be more eager to take a nap when you leave. You can even supplement his kibble with dog-friendly fruit and vegetables such as carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, blueberries, apples, and bananas.
8. A full toy box
Fill your dog’s toy box so he can help himself to his toys. Rotate his toys every few days so he doesn’t get bored. You can even spice it up and hide a treat or two in the bottom of his toy box. If the tox box is filled with a lot of toys, it will take some time and energy to get to the treat at the bottom.
9. Custom tailor alone time around his favorite things
You know your dog best. What does he love? So far, your dog can play a modified game of fetch, he has toys and treats to keep him entertained and active so he doesn’t get bored, the television can make him feel like he isn’t entirely alone and isn’t in dead silence all day, but your dog still deserves and needs MORE attention during those long hours that he’s left alone, which leads us to tip #10.
10. Hire a dog walker/pet sitter
The best tip for weekday entertainment and care for your dog is to hire a pet sitter. Your dog will receive attention and love from a real human. Hearing outdoor sounds doesn’t compare to going outside and experiencing their favorite sounds, smells, and sights. They can go potty—enough said there. They also have human interaction that dogs are wired to crave. Your dog is naturally wired to work, hunt, and problem solve. So what are you waiting for? Hire a pet sitter for your furry friend.
Hopefully you now have some great ideas when it comes to keeping your dog entertained each day. Your dog will be so happy having some of these options available while you have to go to work each day. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about hiring a pet sitter or dog walker, contact us today!