Want to enjoy summertime with your pet, but tired of the same old fetch or feather toy? Check out these fun ideas to keep you and your pet occupied all summer long!
You know the scenario: Summer’s here, it’s hot, and you’re bored with the same old, same old. If you find yourself looking for something new to keep you and your pet active and having fun, check out these cool pet games for indoors and out.
Ping-Pong for Cats
Ping-pong balls are purrfect toys for cats. They’re small and fast, mimicking cats’ prey, and they make plenty of noise as they skitter across the floor. Plus, they're large enough that there's little need to worry about your cat swallowing them.
Start by positioning your cat across the room — if she doesn’t mind — then gently flick the ping-pong ball across the floor towards her. Chances are good that she’ll swat it around a bit once she catches it. Some cats will figure out that you’re part of the game, too, and start swatting the ball back in your general direction. This is the closest some cat owners will ever get to a game of fetch!
Patiently pick up the ball when your cat stops playing with it, return to your position, and flick the ball across the floor again. Eventually this may become a two-sided match. It’s certainly a fun, active way to bond with your cat.
The game also works in the bathtub. Remove all toiletries and cleaning products from the area first, make sure the tub is dry, and cover the drain so the ball can’t settle there. Then drop a ping-pong ball right in the tub and watch your cat have a blast chasing and batting the ball around.
Fetch and Swim Circuit Training for Dogs
If you enjoy going in the water with your dog, and he loves to play fetch, you can double your fun and exercise with this energizing game you'll both enjoy.
Begin with an ordinary game of fetch using a ball or other safe object that floats — then take it to the water. Toss the object into the water and follow your dog in! You’ll both cool down and get more exercise than either of you would have on dry land alone. Complete the circuit by tossing the ball out of the water and following your dog out. Stay close to shore and repeat a few times, but not so many that either of you are too tired to swim.
Keep a close eye on your dog at all times, and be sure he's properly hydrated beforehand so he won’t drink the water you’re playing in. You may also want to use a dog lifejacket in large or deep bodies of water.
Hide and Seek for Cats and Dogs
This game is all about letting your pet explore and find a hidden toy or or treat by scent. First, let your pet sniff what you’re going to hide. Then hide it someplace nearby that’s not too hard to find. Catnip-filled toys work best for cats. If the prize is a treat, you’re all set! If not, you can reward your pet with a treat for finding his or her toy.
Keep hiding things in harder and harder places to find until you or your pet are all tuckered out, then put the toys and treats away. If only you could train your dog to retrieve the toys and put them away himself at the end of the exercise.
Want to take it to the next level with your cat? Bring in the paper bags! Chances are she’ll find the crinkly sound and enclosed space of the bags more interesting than the game itself, but give it a shot. Trying to find a tasty morsel in one of four or five large brown paper bags may just appeal to her natural hunting instincts.
Of course you should never use plastic bags or paper bags with handles attached that your cat could choke on or get caught in.
Dogs may like bubbles, too, but cats are more likely to enjoy this game. Pick up some catnip-scented bubbles formulated especially for cats. Don’t use regular bubble formulas, as the soap residue may irritate your cat’s eyes. Gently blow some bubbles near your cat and see if she doesn’t jump around trying to catch a few.
Don’t be surprised if your cat doesn’t jump at the bubbles right away. Some cats would rather watch you blow bubbles all day rather than jump at the bubbles as they float to the ground. Some are more interested in rolling around where the bubbles burst rather than pouncing on them. It all depends on your cat’s personality and activity level.
If your cat does enjoy chasing bubbles, consider taking her bubble fun to the next level by leading your cat through an obstacle course of chairs or toys. Blow a series of bubbles for her as you wind your own way through the course. Just be prepared to ask yourself: Are you training your cat, or has your cat trained you?
Tablet Games for Cats and Dogs
People aren’t the only creatures who play games on tablet computers. With a good screen protector, your dog or cat could become a video game superstar playing special tablet games built just for dogs or cats. Many have high contrast backgrounds and fun moving objects for your pet to tap (i.e., pounce upon).
There are games for dogs featuring squirrels and, yes, cats — and there are games for cats featuring mice, bugs, and other critters that she will love pawing at. Most games include sound effects like squeaking or animal noises that will perk your pet right up.
Some of the more popular games for dogs are iSqueak and Pet Acoustics for iPhone and iPad, and My Dog My Room and Lovely Pets for Android — while cats may enjoy Game for Cats and Friskies® Jitter Bug for iPhone and iPad, Crazy Cats and Cat Playground for Android, and Friskies® Cat Fishing 2 which works on both platforms.
Feel like making training into a game for your dog? Check out the Pro Plan® P5 app! It can track your dog’s activity and provides step-by-step training regimens that cover everything from basic training to high-performance feats of athleticism.
Last but not least, puzzle toys offer a fun mental challenge that rewards your pet for his or her problem-solving skills. How far will your pet go to enjoy a tasty treat? Pick up some new puzzle toys and put him or her to the test.
You can find dozens of fun puzzle toys for dogs or cats that range from simple to complex. They come in varieties like small cylinders or balls, and some look like children’s toys with parts your pet must paw or nuzzle out of place to get to those tasty treats.
Whatever games you choose to play with your pet this summer, be sure to keep everyone — including yourself — well hydrated and ready to have a great time!