Best Interactive Pet Toys – And Why Pets Need Them!
The best interactive pet toys can stimulate your pet and keep them active. Whether you have a dog, cat, guinea pig, hamster or gerbil, they all tend to love to play.
I once had a dog named Cinder who would toss her ball down the basement stairs, run and get it and do it again. We would literally have to hide her ball in order to get her to rest.
We definitely didn’t need to bribe her! All it took was a ball and some stairs and she was a happy camper!
Interactive Toys For Dogs
You might ask why your dog needs interactive toys. Of course, you know that dogs weren’t always domesticated. They still have family members that are wild, like the wolf and the coyote.
They used to have to hunt for their food and strategize in ways that they don’t have to in the present day. They just go to their bowls and eat! Even though they don’t have to forage for food anymore, they still have that instinct.
They love to work and have a purpose. Giving them a way to stimulate themselves through play helps to fill that need.
It’s been proven that smart dogs are happier and adjust well to different circumstances. Stimulating their minds and giving them toys that make them solve problems can help to prevent dementia when they get older.
They are less fearful of new things which makes it easier to take them to new places.
Dog toys can also help that chubby lab in the corner that I mentioned above. We know that most labs absolutely love their food. They will do just about anything for a treat and will scam a second feeding from a family member that doesn’t realize they’ve already had their dinner.
Unfortunately, all that food leads to weight gain and laziness. Get them chasing a ball and they can fall in love with exercise all over again! Once they lose a bit of the chub, they feel better and could live a longer, healthier life.
They will also, most likely, have less anxiety and stress which can help prevent destructive behaviors.
Puzzle Toys like the Kong Classic Dog Toy with the hole in the middle to hide a treat is a great toy. They have to figure out how to get the treat out of the middle. It is affordable, durable, and will keep your pup engaged.
Another great interactive toy for puppies is a simple little tykes slide! Who knew!? Puppies absolutely love it! Once they figure it out, they’ll be up and down the slide more than the kids are!
Hide and slide puzzles are also great fun for your best friend. They have to slide the pieces in order to get their treat. You can watch how quickly they learn what to do!
Lastly, for this post, is the snuffle mat. If you have a dog that rips apart cloth toys, you probably want to pass on this one.
The snuffle mat has fleece pieces sticking out all over. Hide your dogs food in it and they have to sniff and forage to find everything. It can also slow down those dogs that suck their food in like a vacuum cleaner!
Cats Love Toys Too!
Cats are so funny when they play. I love to watch them arch their back and jump back and forth when being introduced to a new toy. I laugh every time!
My big old lazy tom cat would go nuts for a laser. He would try to jump up the wall, under the furniture, over the furniture, well, you get the idea!
(You do have to make sure to NOT shine the laser in their eyes. Children of all ages should have supervision when playing with lasers. This can mean some husbands too! lol)
A lot of people don’t realize that cats really need interaction just like other pets. It can strengthen their bond with humans, reduce anxiety and stress.
What many don’t know is that interactive play can improve cognitive function in older cats as well as teach kittens survival skills. Stalking and capturing prey take practice!
If you have a timid or fearful cat, interactive play with a wand toy or stick toy lets them play and interact while still having that distance that helps them to feel more secure.
The more they play, the more confident they become which will allow them to be closer to their human. It will also help them to stay fit, since most cats are happy to lie around all day.
Just like people, cats get bored and they get into trouble. If they stay engaged in playing and learning, some of those bad behaviors can be avoided. If you don’t play with them, they will punish you!
Wand, or stick toys are great for cats and kittens alike. You don’t even have to buy one. Put a string on a stick and drag it around.
Even better (if you don’t have fancy furniture) let the kids “fish” over the back of the couch. They have a blast and so does the cat or kitten!
Boredom Seems To Be A Common Problem!
Whether you have a dog, cat, hamster, rabbit or other pet, boredom can cause bad behaviors. Make sure to engage your pet on a regular basis.
Not only will it strengthen your bond, but it will help to reduce destructive behaviors. They are more like humans that we give them credit for.
I know I don’t like to be bored and my little ones always got into trouble if they didn’t have something to engage them. Let’s give our pet the same kind of attention!
Pets And Kids
One thing I found out, is that a lot of times you can entertain your children and your pets at the same time! Like fishing behind the couch with the cat or having the kids hold a mirror and letting the dog chase the reflections.
Have them throw a Frisbee between them and let the dog have their turn. They are all staying active and are happier for it!
As you can see, most of our pets need to have some sort of interactive play. I focused on Dogs and Cats but even guinea pigs and rabbits will thrive will interactive play and toys.
Of course, there are lots of other pets too. Don’t worry though, We’ll talk about them in the future!
Did You Learn Anything New?
You might not have learned a thing but I hope you did! Drop a comment below if you have some great toy ideas!
The main point is that interactive toys and play will help your pet to be more intelligent, happier and possibly live longer.
You will create a stronger bond and enjoy each other more and your pet may be more sociable. It sure can’t hurt to try it!