Have you ever seen your cat try to climb a wall, repeatedly jump on your shelves to knock items off or leap onto the chandelier? Or has your dog ever tried to dig up your wall-to-wall carpeting or decided that it’s fun to play tug-of-war with the curtains? These could all be signs that your pet is not getting enough mental stimulation.
Dr. Wailani Sung, a Washington veterinarian, is sharing ways that you can tell if your pet is suffering from boredom — and easy ways to change that.
Mish Whalen / TODAY
Often pets are left at home when owners go to work or spend a great deal of time outside of the home due to other demands, such as school or family commitments. Many times, these pets suffer from insufficient physical and mental stimulation. In the absence of adequate outlets, our pets may engage in activities of their own making.
These activities can include appropriate behaviors, such as playing with toys, or inappropriate behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or knocking items off a table. Additional inappropriate or undesirable behaviors include excessive attention seeking, unruliness, vocalizations, playing keep away with an owner’s items or self-directed behavior, such as a pet chasing his own tail.
Dogs may engage in normal “dog” behavior, such as digging in dirt, but to a greater extent than is tolerable — so instead of one hole in the lawn, your backyard may look as if it is being excavated.
For cats, normal “cat” behavior includes chasing moving objects — but that could include your ankles as you walk around the house. If your pet exhibits any of these behaviors excessively, ask yourself how much physical and mental stimulation you are offering him.