Video Games and Your Pet

Small dog sitting next to video game controller

Does your pet want to play video games, too?

People aren't the only ones playing video games these days. Plenty of dogs and cats are spending hours catching virtual fish or playing complicated memory games. Although your pet may enjoy the games, are they a good idea?

Video Games Can Combat Boredom and Decrease Anxiety

Bored pets often find inventive, and sometimes destructive, ways to spend their time. They unroll the toilet paper, destroy couch cushions, or even take a few bites out of the wall. Video games offer more productive ways for your pets to spend their time.

Games can also be helpful if your pet suffers from separation anxiety while you're at work. If your pet is concentrating on playing a game, he or she won't be thinking, "Oh no, I'm home alone again!"

Although your dog won't be able to turn on an app on a tablet while you're away, he or she can play games on a Clever Pet Hub or similar device. The Hub features dozens of color-based puzzles. If your dog touches the correct sequence of colors, he or she receives a treat from the food dispenser. You determine when the Hub is turned off or on and control how much food is dispensed.

Games May Improve Cognitive Abilities in Older Pets

Just like people, dogs and cats can experience changes in their cognitive abilities as they age. Interactive games can help keep older pets alert and engaged by challenging them to learn new skills.

Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna discovered that touchscreen and tablet games helped dogs avoid the mental decline that can occur as a part of aging.

They trained dogs to use touchscreens during several different studies. In some studies, touching the screen with a paw or nose at the right time in the game triggered the release of treats. The dogs quickly learned how to play the games, which become increasingly complicated with each level.

The researchers found that participation in the study offered several important benefits for older dogs, including:

  • Mood Enhancement. Dogs that played the games experienced a boost in their moods, as evidenced by tail wagging and willingness to work on the tasks.
  • Increased Motivation. After mastering a game, dogs were more motivated to learn how to play other games and also experienced improvements in learning and memory.
  • Improvement in the Dog-Owner Relationship. People whose dogs participated in the experiments reported positive changes in their relationships with their pets.
  • Stress Reduction. Dogs that played the games had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Game Playing May Offer a Few Drawbacks

Although playing games can be very beneficial for pets, it may not be the best idea if:

  • Your pet spends too much time playing video games. Just like how you want your children to put down the controller and play outside, your pet needs to limit the amount of time spent on video games. If your dog no longer wants to go for long walks or your cat has stopped dashing from one end of the house to the other, it may be time to reduce the amount of time your furry friend plays video games. Exercise is just as important as mental stimulation for pets and is necessary for good health.
  • Games make your pet feel anxious. Some pets may not enjoy playing video games. In fact, tapping a lighted circle on a game board or chasing a virtual laser beam can be stressful for some dogs or cats. If your pet doesn't seem to enjoy the games after a few tries, don't try to force them to play.
  • You spend less time with your pet. If your pet is happily playing a video game, you may be less inclined to play or interact with him or her. Interaction is an essential aspect of the human/pet bond and should never be ignored. Decreasing the amount of time you or your pet spend on video games can help you improve your relationship if either of you tend to become obsessed with games.

A combination of physical activity and mental stimulation will help keep your pet happy and healthy. Regular checkups also play an important role in your pet's health. If it has been a while since we've seen your pet, or you're concerned about a health or behavioral issue, give us a call.

Sources:

Digital Trends: Want Your Pet to Age Gracefully? Study Finds Tablet Games Can Help, 2/13/18

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/dog-tablet-games/

NCBI: ACI: Utilising Dog-Computer Interactions to Provide Mental Stimulation in Dogs Especially During Aging, 10/1/18

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6166787/

Clever Pet: Clever Pet Hub

https://clever.pet/

PC World: Seven Apps for Playful Cats, 5/27/13

https://www.pcworld.com/article/2039061/seven-apps-for-playful-cats.html

Contact Us Today!

Contact us using the form or call us at 804-741-3200.

Monday:

7:30am

6:00pm

Tuesday:

7:30am

7:00pm

Wednesday:

7:30am

7:00pm

Thursday:

7:30am

7:00pm

Friday:

7:30am

6:00pm

Saturday:

7:30am

2:00pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Dr. Evans was so patient and kind with our kitty "Cookie". Very caring and so helpful and answered many questions for me concerning her health. The office staff are kind, caring, and professional. The office is immaculate. I have never been to a vet where my pets and myself were treated so well. Love it and so glad to have found them. Best vet appointment ever!"
    Dorothy M.
  • "We have used the Q for over 15 years for our cats and our dogs. Dr. Mortimer is a genius at diagnosing and treating a wide array of issues, and we have relied on his skills to help our animals live to amazing ages. The staff is incredibly caring. They do everything possible to help when we call or come in with a sick animal. They truly care for our pets, and many of the staff will come out from the back to pet our dogs
    when they come in. They are so patient with shy animals like our ferally cat Stasha who needed laser treatments, and our Bagle Topsy who is afraid of her own shadow.Yes, they are not the cheapest vet in town, but they work with us on making a treatment plan we can afford, and we feel that the value and the care are well worth it. Thank you to everyone at the Q for their dedication and loving care."
    Sally M. / December 21, 2017
  • "Met with Dr. Hiser today for the first time. Everyone at the
    clinic--from the desk staff to the vet techs to the veterinarian were warm and welcoming. My dog Iris--who is often nervous around new people--was comfortable there and (I think) made a few new friends. Looking forward to a continued relationship with the clinic as my sweet girl grows up. Thanks, thanks thanks."
    Stephanie C. / June 27, 2018
  • "My three chihuahuas have been Dr. Mortimer's patients for over nine years. The expertise, love, and care demonstrated for each pet is extraordinary. The doctors and staff go the extra mile to help their patients and the parents. They are truly an amazing group that love and care for each pet. If there was a review rated outstanding, that would have been my choice!"
    Donna C. / June 10, 2018
  • "I would highly recommended QVH. All of the staff are so kind and compassionate. They are so willing to help and never mind answering any questions you may have, even if it's 100 questions they are so patient. They genuinely care and treat your pets as if they were their own. And I cannot say enough about Dr. Hiser. She is amazing. Even on her days off she would still call and check in on my dog. I am so appreciative of this place and the staff. It's a great feeling to be completely comfortable with putting your pets care in someone's else hands and trusting them to provide the best service."
    Taylor H. / August 25, 2018
  • "I have been seeing Dr. Evans for at least 20 years. Her manner, knowledge, staff and facility are exceptional. I am a health care provider myself and hold the care of my pets to the highest standards....and I have never had a second thought about the care or recommendations of Dr. Evans. I moved out of town 6 years ago....and drive 3 hours each way to see her."
    Kimberley W. / April 2, 2018
  • "Wouldn't trust my four-legged Kids to anyone else - they have guided us with all our dogs through the years. The entire staff is kind and patient with the animals (and their parents)."
    Karen K. / November 7, 2017

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles