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Article: Great Ways to Entertain Your Furry Friends

Great Ways to Entertain Your Furry Friends

Pets Love Celebrating!

Who can resist those beautiful eyes looking at you longingly (dogs) or curiously (cats) whenever there’s fun going on? Not many of us, it seems! Whether it’s their own birthday, your birthday, Christmas, Easter, New Year … you name it … there’s so much fun to be had by our pets!

We’ve done some trialling and come up with five of our favourite ways to super spoil our dogs and cats, whatever the occasion! And, saving the best for last, at #5 you’ll discover how we’re adding to the entertainment by developing our very own Pet Bonbon range! So, calling all pet lovers, this one’s for you!

ways to keep dogs entertained

1. Food, Glorious Food!

A sure-fire way to many a dog’s and cat’s heart is via a tasty daily meal! Just witness the well-worn track to their food bowl – a clear giveaway of a regular inspection schedule! And, when it comes to a special occasion, a bowl of kibble just doesn’t make the grade.

The following treats, however, will have your fur baby happily licking their lips for more!

First, there’s this Cat Birthday Cake Treat, which looks good enough to eat ourselves!

Cat Birthday Cake Treats

Cat Birthday Cake Treats

Credit: Casey Barber

Made with tuna, chicken and sweet potatoes, this cake is actually a very healthy treat, with the mashed potato frosting making it look deceptively decadent!

The four key ingredients and step-by-step instructions are available at Good Food Stories. Using a round cookie cutter (or any other shape that takes your fancy), you can easily turn out a batch of mouth-watering cakes in no time, with no cooking required. And, as an extra bonus, you can freeze any leftovers (as if!).

As for the special pooches in our lives, we love what Bright Star Buddies have on offer. With ten options on the menu, there’ll be plenty of mouth-watering (aka, slobbering!) going on in no time! Perhaps try a birthday cake with peanut butter and apple sauce. Or a grain-free treat for the more sensitive tummies. There are even carob pupcakes to distract them from all that delicious (but, alas, toxic for dogs) chocolate, just waiting to be eaten at Easter and Christmas!

Our favourite is the pumpkin and peanut butter cake. On the most recent baking, the audience (Pooch Louis and friends) gave it a very positive, five-star rating. With not even a crumb left in the bowls, it was well worth the extra prep and cooking time (about 1.5 hours).

Following the recipe available at Broma Bakery, just grab the six ingredients for the cake (vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, eggs, flour, baking soda), two for the frosting (Greek yoghurt, peanut butter), and get creative! It’s great fun to make, looks sensational with all those layers, and is a perfect treat to share (no resource guarding, thanks, Pooch!). And doesn’t the party hat just complete the happy scene?

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Cake

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Cake

Credit: Broma Bakery

2. Self-Serving that Special Gift!

You know that sinking feeling when you arrive home with the cutest toy from the pet store, only to find that Pooch would prefer to keep chewing an old shoe she’s been chewing since puppy days … or Puss a ball of wool that was meant to serve a higher purpose? (Sigh!)

Well then, how about letting them choose their own next shiny object?

There’s no lifetime favourite-toy guarantee, of course, but they’ll have great fun helping themselves and it’s so entertaining watching them gravitate towards their next “must have” item!

What better way to let your pup pick out an extra special gift than taking them to a dog-friendly pet store and walking them up and down the aisles? (Or maybe carrying them if they’re prone to other-dog distractions.) With so many pet stores welcoming dogs these days, you can make an outing of it – an early morning walk, breakfast at a pet-friendly café and then off to shop for treats!

The rule of thumb is that first means best. So, once Pooch has made a beeline for that special something, the rest of the time can be spent browsing - or making a timely exit before the excitement becomes too much!

We love the look of happiness on this fellow’s face as he stands surrounded by doggie bones and lots of other edible treats!

Doggie Heaven!

Doggie Heaven!

Credit: Bring Fido

Staying on home territory, members of our feline family won’t miss out on all the self-serve fun! Cat towers, a common feature in many pet-loving homes, are a great place to arrange a selection of gifts.

Try placing (or hanging) one or two brightly-coloured toys on each platform and see which one Puss prefers. Sometimes a little prone to fastidiousness (!), they might take a while to choose, but who’s in a rush?! Once they’ve got their special toy in paws, you can closet the others away until next time and, hoopla! hours of playing time ahead!

And, if you’re feeling creative, you can make your own personalised cat tower! Head over to the Spruce Pets who provide DIY instructions for eight different and original styles!

Cat Waiting for Treats

Puss Waiting for Treats

Credit: The Spruce Pets

 3. Game Day!

OK, maybe not the whole day, but a few hours of that special day spent playing games with your pet will be sure to have them smiling or purring with delight!

We’re on board with the folks over at Pet Helpful with their list of benefits of playing games with your cat. Pusscat not only has fun but also gets exercise (sometimes much needed for the more layabout types!) and mental stimulation. Benefits for us include strengthening our bond and building trust and affection with Puss. Plus, we also have fun! What better way to set aside any troubles of the day?

And there’s no need to spend up big! Pet Helpful provides some fun low- and zero-cost suggestions, including ping pong, crumpled paper (some cats can’t resist the crumpling sound), ball of yarn or ribbon, large paper bag, hide & seek, tag, and videos (an acquired taste).

We had great fun recently with young Minou, playing toy under the blanket. All you need is a stuffed toy under a blanket (or toes work, too!). Wiggle the toy about so that the blanket moves. Your cat will think “Mouse!” and dive after it! Be sure to move the toy around so the cat has room to pounce. Or you can try a variation – put your cat under the blanket (or sheet) and run the stuffed toy lightly over the top. As you can see in the photo, Puss will find it hard to resist chasing the shadows!

Cat under the Blanket

Cat under the Blanket

Credit: Pet Helpful

When it comes to our doggie friends, interactive games keep them healthy and happy and so really add to their quality of life. How about a game of frisbee and fetch in a local park? Or hide and seek (they’ll win this one, for sure!)? A treat hunt (think Easter egg hunt with small dog-friendly tit bits) or a food dispensing toy (where they have to work for the ‘prize’)?

A game of tug is always entertaining and there are lots more benefits than just having fun! Puppy Leaks lists seven! -

●       Minute for minute, it’s one of the most intense types of exercise for Pooch.

●       It gives your dog a great mental and physical workout.

●       It strengthens your bond with your dog.

●       It’s an easy way to reinforce basic obedience and can help increase your dog’s impulse control.

●       It can be used to redirect destructive chewing (praise be!).

●       It helps build a dog’s confidence (especially if you let them win).

●       It creates a useful distraction when working on learning other behaviours.

Impressive, right?! Oh, and check out the rules of the game as well, available on the Puppy Leaks website.

Game of Tug, Anyone?

Game of Tug, Anyone?

Credit: Puppy Leaks

4. Let’s Party!

What’s a party without friends? When your four-legged best friend’s next birthday comes around, why not throw a party just for them? For the socially-inclined canines, consider inviting some of the neighbourhood dogs and their families over. And there’s always your own extended family and friends, with dogs in tow! Cats, of course, generally prefer to do their own thing, so their party might well be a family affair. No matter! Whichever party style you choose, it’s bound to be fun with lots of laughs all round!

Every party needs a cake, so let’s get baking! Check out the suggestions at #1 above and also at the Dog People. (They have ‘alterna-cake’ ideas, too, for those with allergies and sensitivities.) There are also plenty of boxed cake mixes available in pet stores and online. And if you’re feeling time poor, try the take-out option – just look for one of the bakeries that specialise in personalised designs, like Dog Cakes in Brisbane, our home town.

Once the catering’s sorted, onto the party schedule! The Dog People have it all sorted:

●       Choose your theme – carnival, Hollywood Stars, a fairy tale, retro, princess, Scooby Doo … (endless possibilities).

●       Buy, make or modify a theme-related outfit or accessory (if this is your dog’s thing).

●       Accessorise with a party hat or bandanna (see #5 below) to ensure the birthday boy or girl is the star of the show!

●       Do up the décor … theme-appropriate, of course (such fun!).

●       Get the whole squad of guests together in the garden or dog park.

●       Bring out the birthday presents … or 500!

●       Let the fun begin!

Dog Party Fun!

Dog Party Fun!

Credit: The Dog People

Planning to throw your best-ever cat party? Easy! First up, what’s your cat like? Over at the Be Chewy site, they explain how important it is to work around your cat’s personality. There are the aloof types, the outgoing personalities, the feline-friendly and dog-friendly types, and then combinations of all of the above, depending on the time of day.

So, next up, timing! As Christina at Be Chewy puts it, “time it right, then invite!” With cats most active at dawn and dusk, early evening probably works best for the party bash. Invite over any feline friends, bearing in mind that people are often reluctant to transport their cats, so you might end up with a select few. Loyal family humans and pets can always make up the numbers!

Be Chewy has some great ideas for bringing on the festive mood. Try cutting a row of paw prints from colourful paper and hanging them up in swatting reach of Puss and Co. And a bright “Happy Birthday” sign is sure to catch their attention! How about a small bag of treats for the star and each furry friend to enjoy? (resource hoarding notwithstanding – and you might need to manage Pooch!). Be sure to have lots of toys placed around the room, as well – now’s not the time for minimalism!

Games? No problem! Our favourite is a kitty obstacle course, involving a tunnel with various objects scattered inside for revellers to step through or climb over. You can buy a tunnel for under $20 and most are collapsible for easy storage. As for the obstacles, a range of engaging cat toys and other random items does the trick!

Finally, don’t forget the all-important gift giving! With all that’s been going on, they might well be gifts that keep on giving in the days to come when Puss has more time to devote to fully appreciating them!

Spoilt pets

Spoilt for Fun!

Credit: Be Chewy

5. Cracker Fun!

Whether it’s your furry friend’s own special event or a family celebration, there’s bound to be lots of fun at cracker sharing time!

You’ve probably noticed how your dog or cat gets much more fun out of the gift unveiling process when they can unwrap it themselves. So, over to them to unravel their own tailor-made bonbons and uncover a mystery surprise! (Just keep an eye out for those inclined to eat the disposable packaging!)

At Bonbon Fusion, we’re delighted to bring to you our new range of pet bonbons! Great for any festivity, our Bonbon Fido crackers for dogs and Bonbon Felix crackers for cats come with a toy for hours of fun and a colourful bandanna … because you have to dress for the occasion!

A bright, happy bonbon with no snap (pet preferred!), what a perfect way to delight your precious pets!

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