When it comes to the brain, pets are just like people — they either use it or lose it. During the summer months, they have their humans around more than ever to entertain them and keep them on their toes. But come fall, there’s less to do, fewer folks to hang out with and your dog or cat can end up just hanging out on the couch for hours. That’s no good.
Think of toys as a way to structure your dog or cat’s day. Some toys are great for hanging out on their own, others are fun for playing with you, and others make mealtime way more interesting. Ready to incorporate toys into your pet’s day at home? Class is now in session.
Here’s what a typical schedule could look like:
MATH CLASS, AKA PUZZLE TOYS
Puzzle toys force your dog or cat to solve a problem (“Where is that delicious treat?”) to earn a reward (“Found the TREAT!”). They’re super engrossing so they’re perfect for when you’re busy and need to keep your furry friend entertained.
SCIENCE CLASS, AKA INTERACTIVE TOYS
Interactive toys let your dog or cat perform all kinds of fun experiments to answer questions like, “Why is that light flashing” or, “Can I stop that from moving” or, “How does it make that weird noise?” Great for their minds, and great for solo play.
GYM CLASS, AKA INDOOR TOYS
Indoor toys help your pet stay in shape plus they give you guys a chance to keep each other on your toes. Dogs enjoy tussling over plush or stuffless toys that are safe to toss around indoors. For cats, anything they can pretend to hunt is great, including cat kickers, prey toys, sound toys and shiny toys.
LUNCH, AKA TREAT FEEDER TOYS
Treat feeder toys turn mealtime into a mission. If you stuff the toy with something tasty and then hide it, you can actually let your dog or cat hunt down their food. That’s mental stimulation plus exercise for the win.
STUDY HALL, AKA CHEWS AND SCRATCHERS
Chews may seem like just a delicious treat but gnawing on them actually stimulates your dog’s brain as well as their taste buds. And don’t leave out the felines — cats love chews too. Speaking of cats, don’t forget to get them a scratcher post. It gives them something enticing to destroy aside from the couch, plus it’s fun for them to perch on and spy.
RECESS, AKA OUTDOOR TOYS
Just getting outside is already a huge amount of stimulation for your dog, but when you add a really fun outdoor toy, they go nuts. Now’s your chance to get in lots of exercise with a throwing toy or rope so that they’re relaxed instead of restless when they get home. Class dismissed!