Keep kids, pets, and yourselves engaged at home this summer by trying something new! Summer fun is a top priority for everyone during these times of social distancing and staying home, so we’re here to help with the following tips. Children have the ability to learn important skills through caring for their pet including responsibility and empathy. By trying out these activities we're sharing, you and your family will find new ways to have a blast bonding with your furry friends.
For families with canine companions, there are countless bonding activities to try. Many household items make for great DIY agility equipment. Cardboard boxes can be used as tunnels for your dog to run through. Placing laundry baskets upside down and resting a broom on top creates a simple jumping obstacle. Using your arms as a hoop also makes for a great hurdle jump, or you can try out a hula hoop if that’s easier. Setting up these obstacles will allow your kids and dogs to get their energy out while learning to master the basics of agility training.
Does your dog prefer to take it easy instead? You and your family can enjoy plenty of leisurely activities together. Try your hand at making frozen dog bone treats using peanut butter, fruit, and plain yogurt, or frozen banana bites! Even better, let them do a taste test to find out which healthy ingredients they love the most. Use fun bone or paw print-shaped molds to give them the gourmet style treatment. Your pup will be sure to love them. Bring these treats along for a picnic when nearby parks have opened up!
Continue your DIY work by making a homemade bandana to give your dog stylish flair. Find old clothes or scraps of fabric to cut and customize. Tie-dye is very much on trend this summer, so add a bit more fun with non-toxic dye for even more cool designs. With any leftovers, make matching bandanas for your kids to wear with their furry friends. Put on a fashion show to show off your creations.
Next, if your kids love to read or have summer reading to complete, make it more fun by encouraging them to read to your pet. This is a great opportunity for any child to continue practicing their reading skills with a patient, non-judgemental furry listener. They’ll love the extra special attention to pause and enjoy a good book.
Of course, we can’t forget our feline friends. Cats enjoy climbing and jumping on furniture, so why not add a fort to the mix? With materials found from around your home, you can create a maze for your cat. Laundry baskets, storage bins, cardboard boxes, pillows, and more will do the trick. Placing your feline’s favorite toys and treats throughout the maze will not only entertain your cat but help to keep them active.
Playing fun activities with your cat not only stimulates the brain, but encourages a healthy body too. Fetch can be an entertaining game for cats as well! Toss a small item back and forth such as a milk lid or crumpled up piece of paper and watch your cat’s reaction. Some cats may just play with the toy independently, but repetition overtime will help your cat understand the game.
Additionally, bring your crafty skills into play by creating an interactive puzzle with a shoebox and your cat’s favorite toys. Cut a variety of different sized holes in a shoebox and fill it with your cat’s favorite goodies. Tape the lid to the box and watch your cat work its way to reach inside. Be sure to watch for any signs of frustration so they don’t get too overstimulated.
As a reminder, we want to help make sure everyone under your roof remains safe this season. Please remember to maintain a fresh, cool water supply and watch closely for ticks and fleas. To avoid overheating, be sure to limit outdoor games for early morning and dusk during hot days. Keep your pets out of the direct sun during peak hours when you can, and bring out a wading pool for both kids and pets to stay cool.
We hope these activities will make for wonderful memories. Life may be different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it. Get out there and enjoy having a constant companion to lean on. Beyond all the amusement your summer will provide, please be sure to call us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your pet’s health. All of us at Stream Valley Veterinary Hospital hope everyone has a safe, healthy, and exciting summer season!