Being a pet parent is one of the greatest joys in life, but like all relationships it can become a little stale over time. When they first enter your life every day was about getting to know each other, laughing at their antics and fussing over mealtimes, and buying them all the toys or outfits they could wish for, then as time passes and you settle into a routine it’s entirely natural that this wears off a bit.

Be honest though, is your pet getting enough quality time with you these days? Are they showing signs of boredom, or even depression? Both cats and dogs need regular physical and mental stimulation, and dogs in particular need attention from humans.

You can avoid or deal with these problems by carving out some of your free time to do things with your pet. This will strengthen your bond and make your pet feel really happy and secure.

Need some ideas for fun activities you could try? Take a look at this list for inspiration; it starts with ideas for cat owners then looks at some brilliant options for dogs. If you’d like to find out more about things that you can do with your pet then check out

Fun activities to do with your cat

Unlike dogs not every cat wants to play or even spend time with its human family, but all the ideas here are tweakable to suit the personality and lifestyle of your feline friend.

Play with boxes

Who knows why cats love boxes so much, but they certainly do. Saving a couple of large ones for a special play date will get you nothing but brownie points. You can add further interest by cutting an exit hole in one side, or adding scrunched papers and cat treats to the bottom of the box for your cat to hunt and discover.

Tease with catnip toys

They add an extra element to the usual dangle on a string toy, and encourage your cat to jump and leap.

Play hide and seek

Cats love to stalk prey, so hiding somewhere they can see only part of you triggers that instinct.

Teach them tricks

Plenty of cats enjoy games of fetch, or can learn to #shake paws’.

Buy them a puzzle feeder ball

Fill it with treats, roll it around the room and then sit back and watch your cat really get into stalking it, before figuring out how to release some of the goodies inside.

Tub ping-pong

If your cat hangs out in the bathroom throw a couple of ping-pong balls into the tub and watch what happens!

Take a walk together

Most cats can learn to walk on a leash with some patient training, especially if they are young when introduced to this idea. If they tolerate it then a gentle stroll is a great way for an indoor cat to experience the world in safety.

Fun activities to do with your dog

Every dog is different, but whether yours is lazy or full of energy, curious or easy going, there are activities here to suit them.

Enjoy the water

Dogs that are confident swimmers love nothing more than a run on the beach and spending some time in the water with their owner.

Go camping

What’s not to love? New trails to hike with lots of new smells, and a chance to snuggle with you all night!

Book a spa day

Your pooch gets pampered and gets to feel all nice and clean.

Visit a safe off-leash area

Many areas have special sections of parks where dogs can run and play safely without being on a leash.

Take a dog agility class

These provide stimulation and exercise for all dogs, as well as reinforcing obedience and memory skills. They are also a great energy burner for over-active dogs.

Register your dog to be an official visitor somewhere

Many nursing or retirement homes welcome regular visits from very friendly, well behaved dogs of all sizes. The residents love to have a dog around, and your pet will definitely enjoy all the fussing.

Teach some new tricks

Depending on what they can already do you can start with easy tasks like fetch, or something more difficult, like hiding a treat under one of three boxes, mixing them up and then having your dog find the right one.

Blow bubbles

Use a non-toxic type of bubble liquid and then watch your pet jump and run to catch them.

Set up a photo shoot

This could be studio based or something more natural out of doors. You could do this yourself or hire a professional.

Learn bikejoring

A great idea for those with a few dogs of similar sizes, bikejoring allows them to set the pace on a run out while pulling you on a bike. Dog with endless energy love this, but it is important for you and your pets to be trained before you try it alone.

Hitch up a pet trailer

Dogs love to feel the wind in their hair, which is why so many love to spend car rides with their heads out of the window. Give them the same feeling in a safer way by going for a bike ride with a pet trailer attached.

Play Frisbee

The simple things can be enough for dogs that love to fetch and retrieve

There are hundreds of things you can do with your pet cat or dog in your free time, so as long as you take the cues from your pet and account for their personality and lifestyle, doing new activities will always have a positive effect and strengthen the bond between you even further.

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