Pet Playground: Creative Ways to Inspire Pet Exercise

A white and tan dog running in a fieldBack-to-school season usually marks a decline in the amount of leisure time we have. Opportunities for outdoor recreation and playtime generally start to wane for our pets, too. And, since pet exercise is certainly an essential component of wellness, there is a need for planning and ingenuity to get those paws moving.

The cool thing is, exercise can come in a variety of forms. You don’t need to take your pet to some new and exotic location when you use some creativity to inspire exercise for your fur friend.

7 Boredom Busting Pet Exercise Ideas

No matter if you are the proud pet parent of a hamster or a Great Dane, here are some interesting ideas for at home fun. Since exercise helps keep your pet healthy and prevents obesity, it’s important to interact with your pet and provide opportunities for playtime each day.

  • Scavenger hunt – Hide a number of toys and small treats around the home and yard and watch your canine detective go to work. Gradually increase the difficulty of finding the items to encourage problem solving and excitement. This is a great exercise for curious cats, rats, and other scent-oriented sniffers.
  • Agility training and obstacle course – If your dog is a natural student and adept in mastering all sorts of jumps, crawls, and catches, consider agility training and set up a backyard course to for daily practice and exercise.
  • Pet playgroups – Pet play groups can be based on size of pet, breed, or any number of workable criteria. Play groups or organized dog walks can be wonderful ways for both people and pets to socialize and get in some fitness, too.
  • Balls, wheels, and runways – Small pets should also receive activities for enrichment and physical movement. Keep your pocket pet on the ball by adding lots of toys to his cage or pen that keep him running, climbing, and investigating new rewards.
  • Good old fetch – Sometimes the basics are really the most enjoyable. Most dogs love an invigorating game of Frisbee or fetch the ball. And, actually, for the cat fanciers out there, many cats can be taught to fetch, too! Grab a catnip filled mouse or a rubberband and try it!
  • Reward puzzles – Boredom affects dogs, cats, and other animals just as it does us without any social time, interaction, or opportunities for play and curiosity. There are several really cool and challenging puzzles and reward-based games on the market to keep your doggy or kitty Einstein’s mental powers activated.
  • DIY ideas – If you are like most of us, you’ve gotten caught in the vortex of Pinterest. Well, the great thing about Pinterest is that you can justify your time there by checking out some great ideas for indoor cat jungle gyms and outdoor dog obstacle courses. The sky’s the limit on what you can build for your pet’s entertainment.

Back-to-school doesn’t have to be a drag for pets. Sure, autumn and winter tend to be busy with schedules and holidays, but there is no excuse for a bored or couch potato pet. Give some of these ideas a try!