How Much Time Should I be Spending Playing with a Pet?

Although we may love our pets and try to be sure they get enough exercise, we can sometimes forget to spend time playing with a pet. Supervising a dog that is running in the dog park or watching a cat play with a new toy is not enough. Pets also need our undivided attention and our interaction with them and playing with a pet doesn't have to take up a lot of our time.

Dogs are social pack animals and your dog sees you as the leader of the pack. It's important for dogs to have focused attention from the pack leader and it's important for your dog to interact with you. Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day playing with a pet dog. It can be as simple as playing fetch in the yard by throwing your dog's favorite toy around. Many dogs loved to be chased and this will give you some exercise too!

Cats are considered much more socially independent than dogs, but they also need some of your time playing with them each day. As little as 5 or 10 minutes of letting them pounce on a toy attached to a string that you pull along the floor can be enough for many cats. Some cats prefer to chase balls being rolled on the floor. The thing to remember when playing with a pet is to engage them in activities that they seem to enjoy. Often, your cat's purr will let you know!

When playing with a pet, you don't have to have expensive or even bought toys. Especially with cats, you can use things around the house such as string to chase or a cardboard box to climb in. Be sure to keep safety first at all times though. Also avoid aggressive play such as tug of war with dogs in which they grab onto an object and you try to pull it from their teeth. Avoid using your hands to play-fight with cats even when they're kittens as this can lead to aggressive behavior that can be difficult to deal with in full-grown cats.


Discuss this Article

Post 3

I know we should be giving full attention to pets when playing. But sometimes I'm real tired when I get home from work. I take Buddy out for a walk and then throw myself on the couch. And he has no problem with me playing fetch with while I'm sitting on the couch watching TV. I could throw that ball a million times and he would still fetch it back for more. We probably spend around 4-5 hours doing this every week.

Post 2

I think that play time with a pet is a great time to bond and strengthen the relationship. Like the article says, it's important for the play to not get out of hand. It can be easy during play for the pet to consider you as the same and might try to play as if it would with another dog or cat. And of course that means biting and scratching.

When I play with my pets, I prefer to run around with them or play fetch to promote exercise. If they bite me by accident, I make a loud squeek and they immediately know that they did something wrong.

Even if you have these sorts of things happening while playing with your pet, don't stop playing with them. You can get professional help to train your pets. But play time means care, love and affection and their time with us is really important for them.

Post 1

My cat literally tells me when she wants to play. She will go and hide in a room and will meow until I come find her. When I find her, she will run and hide somewhere else. Sometimes I hide too and she will come find me. We only do this for 5 minutes at a time, and once or twice a day if she feels like it.

It's so cute and fun too! I never knew that cats could be so interactive with their owners, but they can be. My cat loves attention and she gets upset with me if I don't play hide and seek with her.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?