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20th Jul 2022

Is my Dog bored?

by Laura Dunford RVN

Is your dog bored?

Nobody enjoys being bored. Boredom is a horrible sensation that can leave you feeling restless, anxious, and can even lead to aggressive behaviour in some people. Have you considered that your dog may be suffering from boredom too?

With National Anti-Boredom Month coming to an end, we wanted to share our insight on pet boredom. You can also check out our blog Is Your Cat Bored? for our advice tailored to felines.

Signs that your dog may be suffering from boredom include:

  • Displaying destructive behaviours such as chewing, digging, shredding bedding etc.
  • Increased vocalisation.
  • Food-seeking/scavenging.
  • Escaping at any given opportunity.
  • Excessive grooming.
  • Persistently seeking attention.
  • Hyper over-excited greetings.
  • Appearing anxious or irritable.

Any changes in your dog’s appetite or behaviour should first be investigated by the vet to ensure that there aren’t any underlying medical conditions causing them. If there are no underlying conditions, then you could very well be dealing with an unfulfilled pooch. The key to banishing boredom is to focus on variety, novelty and challenge as key concepts.

Dogs have been bred for particular purposes. Some were bred to be lap dogs and to provide companionship, others were bred for hunting, or for protection. These instincts are built-into dogs on a cellular level. They are hard-wired to work, so it’s easy to see how they could become disenchanted with life if they’re not given enough to do!

Enrichment doesn’t have to break the bank, there are many ways that you can provide it including:

  • Feeding games – Puzzle feeders, snuffle mats, scattering kibble, licki-mats and treasure hunts. These don’t have to be expensive – get creative and make your own! A bottle with the top off with some kibble inside works perfectly.
  • Grooming, belly rubs, and cuddles.
  • Obedience and trick training.
  • Games – “fetch” and “find it”.
  • Toys – Flirt poles, tug toys, balls and squeaky toys.
  • Hobbies – agility, heelwork to music, flyball, Canicross, scent work and rally.
  • Sand pits for digging.
  • Paddling pools.
  • Exercise – Walking (and picking up peemails!), jogging and swimming.
  • Explore new places together.

A lot of our canine companions have to entertain themselves when we’re at work, so it’s really important that they have something to occupy them when they’re alone and that the time we do spend with them is quality time, where their physical and mental needs are met.

Our friends over at Dog Furiendly have written a helpful article on caring for your dog’s mental health, check it out: 

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by Laura Dunford RVN
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