*This article has been updated in 2020.
What’s your pet up to?
Some pets do not do well when left alone. In fact, some get angry, anxious or resentful and let you know with destructive behavior. There are close to 90 million pet dogs in the U.S and it is estimated that up to 30% of them suffer from separation anxiety at some point. What to do if your pet is one of them?
Sign up for DOGTV! This is the first dog friendly television channel for dogs. Dogs often respond to what they see on TV. The American Kennel Club did a survey and found that almost half of the people surveyed had dogs that showed interest in what was happening on the television screen. DOGTV is designed to be a babysitter for dogs left home alone. It has two types of programming – relaxing which calms anxious dogs with peaceful sounds and music and stimulating which has invigorating images, animation and exciting real world sounds that get the dog up and moving. Their programming is designed for all dogs that can see and hear. Whether or not dogs can actually watch TV, the sounds ought to catch their attention. The cable channel costs $4.99 a month and is available on DirecTV, online streaming and Roku. It airs 24 hours a day. DOGTV.
View a sample episode of stimulating DOGTV.
If you don’t want to subscribe to a cable channel, try leaving Animal Planet or NatGeo Wild on your TV while you are away from home.
There are similar distractions for cats. YouTube has many free videos for cats to watch, including one that plays for three hours. There is a website devoted entirely to 24/7 videos for your cat to watch or listen to on your computer. What cats can see is not clear, but many react to the sounds. My cat has batted at moving images on both my television and computer screen.
Food puzzles are great distractions for pets. For each meal, divide a portion of your cat or dog’s food into two or three food puzzle toys. Dogs can take up to 15 minutes to figure and access their food. For cats who love to hunt for their food, two or three food puzzles throughout the day keep them occupied. You can also try hiding their food bowls around the house.
Kong food puzzle for dogs is popular. $18.00 for two.
If you have a cat, try this Cat Amazing interactive maze and puzzle cat feeder. $15.95.
This hanging cat scratcher not only encourages approved scratching behavior, but lets them play with the hanging mouse-shaped toy. $17.99.
Shru is a new cat toy, specifically designed for cats who spend time alone while you are at work. It is a rechargeable toy that rolls around and wiggles. When your cat traps Shru it shakes and then gets still as if it’s real prey. This toy will make your kitty very happy and amused. (Because it’s new, please check reviews before purchasing.)$98.00.
Would you feel better if you knew where your dog was and what he/she was up to? For dog owners, the latest version of Whistle, Whistle 3 GPS, lets you monitor your dog’s whereabouts and activity levels. It attaches to your dog’s collar and through its app you can track location and activity. The GPS Pet Tracker and subscription plan is Starts at $99.95. There is currently a 90-day money back guarantee.
If you and your dog or cat need more connection than a tracker, there is PawCall by PetChatz. This is a wall-mounted camera that a smart dog or cat can engage by pressing a button. You can even play a game with your pet by activating a flashing light and when they hit the button they get a treat. Prices start at $79.98.
The high-end model features a two-way camera and audio. You will be able to record the adorable things your pet does during the day by video or photo in addition to engaging directly with your pet whenever one of you activates the connection. PetChatz HDX $349.99.
Petzi is another popular Wi-Fi pet camera and treat dispenser. Connect to your pet from anywhere. Have a chat though the audio, dispense a treat, and snap a photo. $137.99
Experts say that changing up your pet’s toys helps to keep them amused. Sign up for a monthly BarkBox filled with treats and all-natural chew toys for dogs. Select your dog’s size, then select your monthly plan. A 12-month subscription is $22.00 a month. Six months is $25.00 a month and just one month is $29.00. Shipping is included in the subscription.
For cats there is Meowbox. A monthly subscription is $22.95 a month with shipping included. You will receive 4 – 6 items for your kitty. You can also choose an every other month subscription for the same monthly price and number of items. You may cancel your plan at any time.