As a busy pet parent, you try to fit in as much quality time with your animal as possible. However, you don’t always have time for a 2-hour agility class or hike in the mountains. But bonding with your pet is important for both you and your cat or dog, and even just taking five minutes can benefit their physical and mental health. Here are five activities you can do with your pet in five minutes.
Fetch is a great game to play if you’re short on time. Even some cats enjoy it! When playing fetch with kitties, be sure to pick a toy you can toss all the way across the space. The toy should also be easy for your cat to carry in their mouth. Throw the toy across the room and your cat will likely chase after it. If they bring the toy back to you, reward that behavior with praise, petting and treats. Even if your cat doesn’t bring the toy back, take the toy from them and throw it again. This game of chase is still good for their physical and mental health!
Five minutes is the perfect amount of time to give your pet a quick massage. This is an activity that relaxes your cat or dog and is a good bonding exercise. Focus on long strokes on the shoulders, neck and sides of the face. Rub your pet just like how you would like to be touched at a spa. Petting should be slow and with intense pressure.
Nail trims might sound tedious and not at all worth your time in five minutes, but it is useful to practice grooming. Nail trims are hard to do all at once. Frequently pets are too fidgety to finish all nails in one sitting anyway. Plus, just spending a few minutes a day rewarding your pet for being around clippers will help make nail trims easier in the long run.
Start by just touching your pet’s paws with your hands and reward them with a treat. Once they don’t mind having their paws touched, get your pet used to being around nail clippers. You don’t even need to clip their nails. Just get your pet used to the sight and sound of the tool. Again, reward good behavior with treats.
Just like pup and kitty manicures, you can practice other types of training in five minutes. With dogs, you might want to start with the basics: “sit” and “stay.” Everytime you say a command and they obey, you reward them with a treat. After your pooch masters the basics, you can even start teaching them tricks! With cats, you might want to work on rewarding good behaviors. Some cat owners like to take five minutes to train their cat to be comfortable wearing a harness for walks. You can also use this time to teach cats to be comfortable in their carrier for trips to the vet.
Five minutes is also the perfect amount of time to set up a treasure hunt for your furry best friend. Spend a few minutes hiding treats around one room or even the entire house. Afterward, your pet gets to hunt them down. You can even teach your dog the “find it” command. While your pooch watches, hide their favorite toy. Tell them, “Find it!” Once they do, reward them with a treat. Gradually, they’ll learn how to hunt down their toys without sight and purely by scent alone.
What quick activities do you like to do with your pet? Let us know on Facebook!