My cat is not happy that I’m home so much these days. What are some ways I can keep my dog entertained?

My cat is not happy that I’m home so much these days. What are some ways I can keep my dog entertained?

I think my cat is annoyed that the whole family is home so much more. How can we help her feel better?

Good job noticing that the change in your routine might be impacting your feline family member! Try to keep things as “normal” as possible. Making a bunch of new changes all at once is unlikely to make your cat feel calmer. If your cat is younger or showing playful actions (like pouncing on unsuspecting family members), they might benefit from some additional play. Try a food filled puzzle toy that she can play with on her own (see the info on enrichment toys in the next answer – they are great for cats, too!) or an interactive play session with you. Other cats who are older or shyer may additional peace and quiet. Remember to always consult your veterinarian regarding behavior changes in your cat as they can also be a sign of serious health problems, even if it seems like there is an obvious cause.

What are some ways that I can keep my dog entertained if I can’t take him to the dog park?

Even the sweetest dog can start to get unruly if denied the level of exercise and mental stimulation that they normally get from the dog park. One fun and easy way to help take the edge off your dog’s energy level is to feed them from toys, rather than from a boring bowl. Instead of your dog just chowing down on a pile of kibble, these types of toys (also called enrichment) require your dog to use their instinctive canine skills such as sniffing, pawing, chewing and tearing as they work to get kibbles or treats out of the toy. You can purchase toys online or at local pet supply stores or you can make your own DIY versions (lots of ideas on the internet) out of items you already have at home, such as egg cartons, paper or cardboard boxes. Be sure to watch your dog carefully with their new toys and prevent them from swallowing anything non-edible.

Each month, you will have the chance to have your questions answered by the animal shelter. Email your questions to Jennifer_Keene@co.washington.or.us and we will try to answer as many as possible.

For more information on these topics and more, please visit www.WashingtonCountyPets.com. The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter is located at 1901 SE 24th Ave in Hillsboro.