Activities are essential for the health and well-being of pets.

OUR PETS

Play helps build social skills and stimulate the brain and intelligence

By Stella Pires*

June 19, 2022 at 10:40 am


The autonomous Darcylaine maintains the routine of walking with Thor – Photo: Marcelo Rocha / O Liberal

The games we play on a daily basis with pets seem like moments of relaxation and fun with the pets that are so loved by us, but they go far beyond that. Leisure time is essential for the health and well-being of pets.

Physical and mental health, in addition to motor coordination and social skills, benefit from playing, according to canine educator and behavioral consultant Claudia Morais, and therefore, it is necessary to separate moments from our day to dedicate ourselves to activities with the animals.

“Is it over there [a brincadeira] is very important, far beyond leisure. It helps in the complete development of the pet”, said the educator.

In the physical part of the animals, the moment of leisure helps to keep the heart healthy and the joints lubricated; in mental health, games with commands, for example, stimulate the animal’s brain and intelligence; walks to play in parks help with social skills, and games help the dog to get to know his own body, helping with his motor coordination.

“The games provide a good part of the necessary exercises for the pets, because they will improve the attention and adaptability of the animal”, explained Claudia.

In addition, the energy expenditure that occurs during the play routine directly influences the animal’s temperament, helping to eliminate behaviors considered inappropriate by the tutors.

Routine
The Maltese Thor has a routine of walks with his tutor, the autonomous Darcylaine Mastrogiovanni, 50 years old. The family moved from São Paulo to Americana about a year ago and the puppy goes through the process of adapting and socializing with other animals and people.

“It’s hard to socialize because he was raised in an apartment, and in São Paulo you couldn’t walk much the way we can here,” he said.

Even though the Maltese is a little afraid and asks for a lap when he leaves the house, the owner has the routine of going around at least the block of the house where they live to advance in the adaptation of Thor with other dogs. “He’s a little better, but he’s still scared.”

Despite still being a little afraid, the autonomous points out that the puppy is much happier with the routine of walks and games in the new city.

Today, with a large backyard available, Thor’s favorite activity is playing fetch with his shih-tzu sister Luna. “They run all over the house,” Darcylaine said.

Cats should also do activities

The play routine should also happen with cats, as it is essential for the cat’s energy expenditure. The hunting instinct needs to be explored during leisure time.

The activities to be done with the kittens are diverse, from hiding toys around the house to sharpen their instincts, hanging toys, or even walking with them.

Maria Vitória and the cat Radesh walk through the condominium where they live – Photo: Claudeci Junior / O Liberal

According to Claudia Morais, walking with the cats is possible, as long as the adaptation is done calmly, walking first in the transport box and leaving the cat comfortable with the collar, until he feels safe to get out of the box and explore the environment. The tours should be in places such as squares and never on the streets.

The owner of the Radesh cat, Maria Vitória Perine, 24, has the habit of taking him for a walk in the garden of the condominium where they live. According to the tutor, Radesh has a strong temper, and after the introduction of walks he became more relaxed. That’s the only activity the 12-year-old kitty likes to do.

“I had the [gato] Visit, who was walking on a leash, and Radesh went without. The Visita was male too, and they ask to go out even if they are neutered. That’s why I bring him for a walk, otherwise he gets really stressed,” she says.

Maria has four other cats at home, Neguinho, Tica, Greta and Deva, and each one’s tastes and needs define the play routine.

“With Tica I play ball every day, because she is FeLV positive, so the vet advised that she cannot be stressed, so she has to play to have a better quality of life”, he said. FeLV is feline leukemia and compromises the immune defenses of cats. The other cats in the house play with each other.

*Intern, supervised by Valéria Barreira

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