When you think about how your pet spends their days, have you considered that they could actually be bored? Both dogs and cats can experience boredom, and they typically exhibit it through negative behavior.

Some signs of boredom to look for in your dog include destructive behavior like chewing, digging, and pawing, as well as whining, barking, and jumping. And although your cat spends a lot of the day napping, they will show repetitive behaviors such as overgrooming, chasing or fighting with other pets, and inactivity or seeming uninterested. As a result, they tend to make their own stimulation by overeating or shredding fabric or toilet paper.

It’s important to keep your pets entertained, so here are some ways to prevent boredom in your pets.

My Dog is Bored: What to Do

Most dogs love to go for walks! Try mixing up their routine every few days by changing the time of day and your route. Try running or hiking with your dog — it can lend to more mental stimulation since they have to pay attention to your movements and their own.

Longer-lasting chew toys, food puzzles or fillable toys are great options for a bored dog. Strategically fill a food puzzle toy with your dog’s favorite snacks or treats to keep them busy and happy.

Mental Stimulation
Teach your pup some new, more complicated commands other than the basics like sit and stay. Play nose games with your dog and hide treats around the house for them to sniff out. You can also engage in more physical play such as fetch to keep them mentally engaged and on their paws.

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My Cat Is Bored: What to Do

ToysInteractive toys are a great option for a bored cat. Look to purchase toys that cats can chase or chew, as well as scratching posts and horizontal scratchers to provide them with an acceptable place to scratch. These toys can often double as exercise for your cat, especially ones that they are chasing around the house.

Trees & TowersCats can be pretty nosey, so place tall cat trees and towers close to windows to keep your cats entertained with what’s happening in the neighborhood. We bet they would love to do some bird watching!

Mental StimulationEngage in treasure hunts with hidden treats around your home or begin training your cat to reinforce and encourage positive behavior.

The most important part of pet ownership (and the easiest way to avoid pet boredom) is to spend quality time with them. Engage in any of these activities to make their lives more enjoyable.


Sam Gilbert, VMD

Raised in Northern Virginia, Dr. Sam Gilbert received both his BSE and VMD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gilbert completed a one-year small animal internship and additional surgical training before relocating to New Jersey for roles in the medical device and animal health industries. Dr. Gilbert is a former Zoetis employee. He was the Medical Lead for pet owner directed initiatives in dermatology and cross-portfolio therapeutic areas. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and cat.