4 Fun Ways to Keep Your Fur Baby From Being Bored

bored dog little friends

Think about the last time that you were really, incredibly, unbearably bored. Perhaps you got restless and paced around the house, turned on Netflix and cycled through a dozen possible choices before tossing the remote in frustration, searched the refrigerator even though you weren’t really hungry. Boredom has a way of gnawing at us and sending us scrambling for something—anything!—to help us feel engaged and entertained.

Now imagine that you have that feeling, but you can’t turn on Netflix or go outside for a run. You’re stuck in the house with no one to play with and nothing to do, but the need to do something is boiling up inside you.

Put into this context, it’s suddenly a lot more understandable to see the couch cushions torn to bits, the trash strewn all over the house, the lamps toppled from the end table, and your favorite pair of slippers in pieces. When your fur baby is bored, there aren’t many outlets available, and your beloved possessions often take the toll.

The best way to deal with unwanted boredom behavior is to nip boredom in the bud. Here are four ways to keep your fur baby entertained—and your stuff safe!

1. Busy Toys

When you have to be away from your home and leave your furry friend behind, make sure you leave some toys that are safe for chewing and cannot be easily destroyed. The best ones are toys that will keep your dog entertained for long periods of time. You can try toys that have to be turned like mazes in order to dispense a treat. Other toys have a hard chew in the center that is difficult to reach. For the best results, mix up which toys you leave out so that there is always something new on hand.

2. Hit the Dog Park 

Just like us, our furry friends adjust better when they have a chance to explore the great outdoors and get some fresh air. Luckily, Charlotte boasts a number of great dog parks that can give your pup the exercise and engagement she needs. Frazier Dog Park offers walking trails and separate areas for big and little dogs to help keep playtime safe for everyone. Reedy Creek Park features a separate play area for pups adorably named Barkingham Park. Bring your dogs for some fun in the sun (or the mud)!

3. Get a Dog Walker

You can tire your pup out all you want on the weekends, but if you’re going to be away for long stretches of time during the day, there’s no way to get your fur baby the stimulation he needs without calling in some reinforcements. Finding a trusted dog walker who can become an extended family for your pooch is a great way to get him the exercise he needs even when you’re busy. You can come home to a happy pet who is ready to give you some love at the end of the day instead of an anxious pup—and a destroyed house.

4. Stay Connected

Technology is advancing in just about every area of human existence, and our furry friends aren’t getting left out of the equation. Why not equip your house with cameras and speakers that let you see and talk to your pet while you’re away? Connect the devices to your phone so that your pet never has to be alone for long.

Keeping your pet entertained and engaged isn’t just a way to keep your stuff from getting shredded. It’s a necessary component of being a good pet parent. Beat the boredom and provide your pet with the mental and physical stimulation necessary to stay happy and healthy today! At Little Friends, we help keep your dog happy with our dog walking and pet sitting services.

Fireworks and Pets: Your 5-Step Guide to Enjoying the 4th of July

4th of july boy dog

As the 4th of July approaches, you may be looking forward to attending one of the many multi-day fireworks celebrations held across the state. Or maybe you’re hosting your own laidback get-together at home. Whether you are planning to attend a festival or host your own event, it’s important to ensure that your pets receive the proper care during fireworks. Below is your 5-step guide to safely enjoying the 4th of July fireworks with your pet without worries:

1) Plan in advance to keep pets indoors 

The single most important step you can take to keep your pet safe during 4th of July fireworks is to plan to keep your pets inside your home or apartment. If you are planning to entertain at your home, you may even want to designate a special room or level of your home for your pet. This measure will help prevent your pet from venturing outside if a guest inadvertently leaves the door open.

2) Secure trusted pet care if you plan to be out of town

It can be challenging to secure reliable pet care on a busy holiday weekend. So make sure you make a reservation with a boarding facility or pet-sitting service as soon as you confirm your travel plans. As you compare options, look for trusted providers like Little Friends.

3) Consider a pressure wrap or medication for anxiety-prone pets

“Pressure wraps like the Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap may help calm some pets. While we do not know the exact mechanism for how they work, some suggest that the light pressure they produce on the body may lead to an endorphin release that could have a calming effect.”

– Amanda E. Florsheim, DVM, CBCC-KA 

46% of dogs and cats are fearful of fireworks. No one likes to see their beloved pets afraid. Some pet owners find that crating their pets helps to alleviate anxiety. Owners of pets with more serious cases of fireworks anxiety find that pressure wraps like Thunder Shirts and medications help to alleviate stress for their pets. Always consult with a licensed veterinarian before introducing an anti-stress medication.

4) Keep your pet occupied

Keeping your pet occupied is a great way to help lessen any minor anxieties your pet might have about fireworks. Here are a few ways to help you keep your pet busy while fireworks are in action:

  • Give your pet a new toy on the 4th of July
  • Play music or a sound machine to help counteract the noise of the fireworks
  • Consider using a pet-sitting service to keep your dog occupied

5) Thoroughly clean up all debris if you are celebrating at home

Pieces of burned wrapper and gunpowder can be harmful to pets and small children if they are ingested.  Before you allow your pet to re-enter your yard, make sure that you have thoroughly scanned your yard and collected all leftover debris. Finally, make sure that you give debris time to cool down before attempting removal or disposal.

The Bottom Line

By following the tips above, you can enjoy the 4th of July fireworks while keeping your pets happy and comfortable. For more tips on enjoying a safe summer with your pets or to learn more about our services, contact us anytime.

Entertaining Your Pets with Music & TV!

I’m sure that you or someone you know will turn on the radio or the TV when they are leaving a pet alone in the house.  I bet you’ve also wondered if this is really effective, or if we, as humans, do it because it gives us a little peace of mind.

But are our pets really entertained?

Image from Huffington Post

Research shows that it CAN be effective!

Music, depending on the genre, can help relieve stress and anxiety in pets.  Different types of music can garner different types of reactions.  Classical music, for example, can calm and relax your pet, whereas rock music may cause hyper or even aggressive behavior.  Playing some soft, calm music can help your pet rest, relax, and go to sleep.  Researchers also say that it’s best not to play music around the clock, just at strategic times during the day, like meal time, bed time, or when you know you will be leaving the house.  It becomes less effective if played 24/7. There are many apps you can download, for cats and dogs, that offer different types of music for different situations.

Image from National Geographic
Pets LOVE watching TV!

Having the TV on helps alleviate separation anxiety, improving your pet’s state of mind when they are home alone.  TV seems to be more effective with dogs than cats.  According to the Alpha Dog Blog, dogs prefer watching other dogs on TV.  They also respond positively to sounds of praise, happy human voices, and squeaking toys.  There is now a TV channel with 24/7 programming called DogTV!  And for our feline friends, there are interactive videos and DVDs for cats called “Meowvies” that can be found all over the internet!

Pet shelters have been using music and video to help calm and relieve anxiety in their furry residents.

The ASPCA has said in their blog recently that it has helped tremendously. The shelters play music for a couple of hours, and not every day.  And by doing that, and avoiding overexposure, they feel it has made the biggest impact.

Please keep in mind that while music and TV are great to use to help us take care of our pets, they should not be used as substitutes for other important activities, such as play time or cuddle time.

TV and music can be a wonderful addition to your pet’s healthy, well-balanced life!

Share with us!!

Have you tried this with your pet? Do you have a specific radio station or CD you play?  Does your pet react to a specific TV channel? Do they not react at all?  Have you had any negative experiences with music or video in regards to your pet?  Let us know, we want to hear from you!

References:
The Alpha Dog Blog, NY Times Blog, Huffington Post,
thebark.com, petspyjamas.com, aspcapro.org