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Many of us are now working from home due to quarantines, and let’s face it—there is nothing fun about being stuck at home. But to our pets, this is a dream come true. Our four-legged fur babies are thrilled that they get to spend more time with us! Instead of heading to the water cooler when you need a mental break, you can take the opportunity to try something new with your pet.

There are many benefits for both people and their pets from spending quality time together and interacting while at home, and there are numerous fun activities that can be done together.

  1. Create and Learn Together – Your pet is your best audience for trying out new things.
    • Learn a new song and play it on the piano for your pet to hear.
    • Try creating a new dance and implement your pet’s toys, such as their long rope, so you end up dancing together.
    • Look up pet-friendly recipes online and bake new treats together. Pumpkin biscuits are healthy for dogs, and you’ll find yourself with one very happy pup!
    • Create an agility course in your home using books and other household items. Then lure your pet through the course using their favorite treats. This is a great way to stimulate their brain and make them think.
  1. Play and Learn New Tricks Together – Use this quality time to play and teach your pet some new tricks.
    • Roll Over – Start this trick by getting your dog in the down position.
      1. Holding a treat in your hand, slowly bring it around the back of your dog’s neck.
      2. Your dog will smell it and follow it as you bring it around, and after your dog rolls over, you reward him with the treat.
    • Handshake – This trick is started by getting your dog in the sit position.
      1. Holding a treat in your hand, slowly lower it toward the ground where your dog’s paw is. When your pup raises its paw, say “shake,” and give him or her the treat.
      2. Do this repeatedly, starting with your hand a little higher each time. As you slowly raise your hand higher, your dog ends up raising its paw higher, ultimately raising its paw to chest height.
    • The High Five – Once the handshake trick is mastered, this is the perfect trick to learn next.
      1. Start by doing the handshake trick, but implement holding your palm out. Once your dog hits your palm, say “high five,” and give the treat.
      2. The ultimate goal is to get your dog to raise their paw as high as possible to touch the palm of your hand.

You can also create games using everyday household items, such as muffin pans.

    1. Disperse small treats inside different sections of a muffin pan and cover each section (including the empty ones!) with tennis balls.
    2. Your pup will have to use their nose to determine which part has the treat in it and figure out how to move the tennis ball to get to it.

Get your feisty feline involved by creating fun toys using simple things around the house. 

    1. Shine a laser pointer on the floor and move it around.  Your cat will have trouble resisting the urge to pounce on it! (Bonus: Many dogs think this is fun, too).
    2. Take the cardboard toilet paper roll and cut tiny holes in it. Then add some fun fringe along the edges and toss it around. Alternatively, tie a very long string to one end and drag it around the room so your cat has to chase it.
  1. Go Online and Create a Page for Your Pet – You already know your pet is adorable and entertaining, and this is the perfect time to share your experiences with the rest of the world. Make your pet an internet sensation by creating a social media profile for them.
    • Start by doing a pet photoshoot using various looks by including a hat or clothing items.
    • Provide a vivid and thorough bio for your soon-to-be celebrity pet.
    • Each day you can update the page to share your pet’s daily activities, including new skills, tricks, and don’t forget their daily antics.
  1. Exercise Together – It is good to get outside and go for walks but remember to keep your pets safe and take the necessary precautions such as wearing a mask and keeping a six-foot distance from others around you.
    • Getting fresh air and some vitamin D helps our immune system as well as giving you and your furry family member quality time with one another.
    • If you are going on a hike together, make sure you use a high-quality harness to ensure your pet and other pets are safe during your walk.
    • Exercising at home may include doing an online pet yoga class together. After all, the down-dog pose should come naturally to your fur baby.
  1. Relax, Read, and Snuggle Together – This activity benefits both you and your pet.
    • People can improve their self-confidence and public speaking skills by merely reading to their pets due to the lack of judgment we get from our feline and canine companions.
    • Petting your dog or cat while reading benefits us by helping to:
      1. reduce stress and anxiety
      2. lower blood pressure
      3. slow the heart rate
      4. relax the muscles

The benefits of being a pet parent are monumental, and even more so during this period of social distancing where we have little contact with the outside world. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are major risk factors for depression, and according to a national survey, our pets help alleviate these negative feelings.

Having a pet is a true blessing. Our pets rely on us for food and shelter, but more importantly, love, and the love we receive in return is entirely unconditional. We now have the “purr-fect” opportunity to reinforce that bond with them and turn this difficult time into a more “pawsitive” situation. 


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