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Keep Em’ Busy

Jan 31, 2018 | Products, Tips and Tricks

We all have responsibilities that take us away from the quality time we want to spend with our pets and worse yet, we get sick and we still have the responsibility to take care of them.  We have all had the flu a time or two in our lives and we know how it can zap your energy in seconds.  When your laying on the couch, every fiber in your body is aching and your fur baby has to go outside or even worse…he wants to play!!  What?  Wait?  Can’t he bother someone else in the house?  Nope, he wants you and now your forced to feel the guilt if you say “no” as he stares at you with pleading eyes.  

And if your like me, you feel guilty for leaving your dog if for only a few hours.  I always say “I’ll be back” and turn on CMT for them to watch videos.  As I’m walking out the door, I think…”boy, that’s exciting for them…NOT”.  I was talking to my sister about answering one of my readers questions about how to keep your dog occupied when you are not feeling your best and she told me about DOGTV!!!!  So I immediately got online and researched what DOGTV is all about!  This is what I’ve found.  It’s WONDERFUL and I’m so getting this channel for Jake and Maggie.

​DOGTV is a veterinarian-recommended TV channel to treat loneliness, anxiety and depression in dogs. It is audio-visual therapy for dogs.  They discovered that the average canine spends at least 6 hours alone a day and immediately went to work creating content to fill those empty hours and tested these “shows” on dog focus groups.  They did three years of research and came up with three programming groups:  relaxation, exposure, and stimulation.

The first all-dog programming channel is available on Comcast, DIRECTV, Xfinity, RCN, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon FireTV, Roku, and as an iOS and Android app.  

The Relaxation group is about keeping your pet calm and helping with their anxiety.  The exposure group is filled with things that your pet will be exposed to over time such as children, fire trucks, or other dogs.  The content is not created for humans to enjoy and is strictly dog focused crafted to appeal to only canines who need an entertaining distraction to help keep them occupied.  The programs are even color corrected to suit a dog’s vision.  This channel has been used in shelters to help keep the dogs suffering from extreme boredom.  

Go to www.dogtv.com for more information.  

Here is a list of toys and activities that can keep your pup busy when you are working, resting, sick or at your wits end on how to keep your fur baby mentally stimulated and challenged.  I’ve also provided several links and pictures from Amazon if you would like to order these products right from your living room.  

1.    KONG:
Made with pet-safe, durable, built-to-chew rubber in a snowman type design, these toys are perfect for dogs of all ages.  These toys can be bounced around or left outside, they have an opening at one end to stuff with your dogs favorite treats or even a spoonful of peanut butter to keep your pup occupied.  Giving your dog a KONG toy is one of the best ways to keep your dog busy.  They are also a great way of slowing your dog down when eating to fast.  It also provides mental stimulation and challenges your pet while eating something yummy and healthy.

KONG founder, Joe Markham, loved his trained police dog, Fritz, but did not love his destructive chewing habits like rocks, sticks, etc. that were wearing his teeth down.   His need for mental stimulation and play was not being met.  One day, while working on a Volkswagen Bus, Joe began throwing out car parts to Fritz to entice him away from the rocks he had been chewing. Fritz was immediately taken with a rubber suspension part and dropped it in Joe’s lap to play. The erratic bounce and toughness of the rubber inspired Joe and the KONG was created.

KONGs for any age!
From puppies 7-12 weeks, 3-9 months, 9 months – 1 year, 1 year – 7 years, and 7 years and older, there is a KONG toy by name for every age.  
https://www.kongcompany.com/101/by-age/

If you are not a fan of the KONG toy, there are alternatives such as the West Paw Zogoflex Toys (found on www.chewy.com) which are durable, dishwasher safe and easy to freeze.  Another option is the Star Mark Bob a Lot Toy (found on www.petsuppliesplus.com; www.chewy.com; www.amazon.com) which is best used with solid foods because they only have one small hole for the food to come out of.

Mixing food and creating recipes for the KONG can be fun but remember that the calories can add up.  Using larger chunks of food or treats can make it more interesting and the activity of getting the food out can last longer.  Also, keep in mind that to much of these foods at once can give your dog runny stools.  

If you prefer freezing your dogs treats, here are some suggestions:

  • Store bought Kong Stuffing which can be bought at Pet Stores in a wide variety of flavors and comes in an easy to use spray can (basically like Cheez Whiz of the dog world)
  • Low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • Yogurt (plain, low-fat)
  • Canned dog food
  • Your dogs favorite kibble
  • Your dogs favorite treats

Whether you are freezing or wanting something totally healthy, check out some snacks to stuff your KONG toy. You can freeze some of these as well.  

  • Apples (no core, stems, or seeds)
  • Applesauce
  • Asparagus
  • Baby Food (natural)
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries (will stain – use with caution)
  • Blueberries (will stain – use with caution)
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cheese (watch for fat content)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cucumber
  • Green Beans
  • Honey (in moderation due to high sugar content)
  • Kale
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut Butter
  • Peas
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin (canned)
  • White Rice (cooked)
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Steak
  • Strawberries
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Potato
  • Watermelon (seedless)
  • Yogurt (plain, low-fat)
  • Zucchini

​2.    Using clothes, food, and household materials.  

  • If you are looking for some easy and quick dog toys to make and games to try, getting an old sock and filling the bottom of the sock with a ball, tying it with a knot leaving the rest of the sock to be used for tug of war can occupy your dog  
  • Filling an old cupcake pan with a certain number of treats and covering each cup with something durable like a tennis ball.  Your pup will then try and find which cup has the treats  and challenge him to keep going until he gets them all
  • Tying an old sheet into knots and playing tug-of-war from the couch 🙂
  • Freeze a plastic bowl with water and fruit or his favorite toy or treat, dump the bowl upside down on a plate and let your fur baby lap it up!  It’s like making a big dog popsicle!
  • Give your dog an empty water bottle or pop bottle, cover it in a sock or old shirt and tie it at both ends.  Dogs love the crinkle sound and will keep trying to figure out what is making the noise

3.    Challenging your dog with toys and puzzles from AMAZON!

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