Shetland ponies in a stable

Indoor games for pets for when you're affected by coronavirus

  • If you're social distancing or self-isolating because of Covid-19 you may not be able to exercise your pet as you normally would
  • Isolation can make our pets' mental health and our own suffer, so these indoor games you can do together will help you both during the coronavirus pandemic
  • To stop your dog from possible destructive habits, it's best to play with them a few times through the day
  • Making your cat's meal times more entertaining can provide great mental stimulation
  • Enriching smallies' living space with chews such as apple wood or willow helps encourage your pets' natural behaviour
  • When stabled for health reasons or bad weather, horses can release excess energy using play balls to kick around

When coronavirus, the weather or your pet's health prevents them from enjoying the outdoors, there are other great ways to keep them mentally stimulated.


Playing with your dog a few times throughout the day can stop them from making up their own games, keeping their minds distracted from other possible destructive habits.

Puppy with treats

Find it! How to play with treats:

  • Show your dog that you have a piece of food/treat in your hand
  • Say ‘find it!’ and then throw the treat across the floor
  • When your dog finds the treat say a clear ‘yes!’ so they know they’ve followed through on the action that you wanted

You can also play this game with toys if your dog is more toy orientated.

Find out more about indoor games for dogs.


The key is not to play rough and tumble games with your cat as this can encourage your cat to grab and bite you. You can make your cat’s meal times more entertaining by using a food ball to provide mental stimulation.

If you’re feeling experimental, why not train your cat to do tricks using a clicker? This is good fun for both of you and keeps your cat’s mind active. Be sure to keep the training light-hearted - never force them to do anything.

Cats love to climb and a tiered scratching post is ideal for this purpose. This type of design helps cats to feel safe as it provides hiding places and a high shelf from which to watch the world go by.

Small pets:

There are lots of fun things you can do to enrich small pets' living space.

Encouraging your small pet’s natural behaviour by providing safe things for them to chew, such as apple wood or willow, is a wonderful way of enriching their living space.

You can set up a cardboard box with an entrance and an exit that they can hop in and out of. Fill the box with shredded paper. Try hanging some root vegetables on a string for them to nibble.


Ponies and horses love being outdoors where they are at liberty to display their natural traits and satisfy their curious minds. However, if your horse has to be stabled or placed in a restricted outdoor area for your own or their health reasons, or particularly bad weather, there are plenty of things you can do to keep them entertained.

Horses love play balls that they can kick around and pick up with their mouths to throw. This gives them an outlet for excess energy if they are in a playful mood.

Giving your horse fruit and vegetables is a great way of enriching their environment; it can keep them entertained for longer, especially if they are in stables.

Scratching mats provide horses with the means to be able to safely reach that itch that they just can’t themselves. This reduces stress levels in an indoor environment and prevents damage to property at the same time!

— Page last updated 17/03/2020

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