Off the Leash Off the Leash

Animals get bored, too, study finds

Scientists believe findings could help animals live more satisfying lives.

By Vetstreet Nov 16, 2012 4:39PM

Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario,Canada, worked with 29 captive mink in an effort to determine whether caged animals get bored.

Photo: Nick Ridley/Getty ImagesOne group was given nothing to do, while the other group had plenty of things to stimulate them, such as climbing structures and toys. The researchers found that when they were introduced to new things, the animals who lived in the boring cages showed more interest.

Those animals also showed other possible signs of boredom, including snacking when they weren’t hungry and lying around awake.

The researchers believe the findings are a valuable first step in figuring out what can be done to make their lives more satisfying.

"Although we cannot yet determine with certainty whether the subjective experience of the animals is similar to that of humans who self-report feeling bored, their behavior was consistent with that state," they are quoted in a Discovery News report. "Reducing boredom is often a stated aim of enrichment and yet to date we have had no means of judging its success at achieving that aim."

The scientists’ report was published in the online journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News

Photo: Nick Ridley/Getty Images

Bing: Tips and advice for leaving your pets home alone

More from Vetstreet:
4 Best Household Items to Remove Pet Stains From Carpets
5 Dog Breeds That Are Sadly Losing Popularity
Video: How to Get Your Dog to Stop Begging
5 Cold Weather Pet Dangers to Avoid
Why Does My Cat … Stare at Me?

Nov 18, 2012 11:40PM

I remember one long cold winter in SC (as if we really have cold winters) but it was Christmas time  and this very very Lonely baby bison was kinda caged up and obviously getting quite bored with humans staring at him like he was lunch, day in and day out this went on and on .......but beside his pen was this giant and i mean Giant inflatable slide ..and all he could do was listen to all the human children just squeeeeeelllllll as they went down the slide every nite   he knew they were having sooo much fun .....well one night at closing time..the little Baby Bison got out of his cage ...and guess where he went ,   you  guessed it he was only out for about 5 mins and in that short time he had gotten to the stairs of that slide and walked all the way up it standing at the top for about 30 seconds.....my wife and i saw that twinkle in his eye as he went over the edge and slid all the way we were shocked at first and of course worried for him...but before i could get to him he had climbed out and was bounding up those stairs for another run and down he went ...He had a Glorious night that night ..and he gave us a memory of a lifetime..watching him go...we know after the second run he had to be giggling inside...and was definately not bored anymore...THIS IS A TRUE STORY AND LONG  LIVE LAKOTA AT HOLLYWILD

Nov 18, 2012 2:32AM
Considering that UofG is funded by the Canadian government....are you really suprised by this waste of time, money and resources? Just be aware that the US is moving in the same direction with Obama. I am all for animal welfare but let's spend our stolen money on something worthwhile.
Animal research that doesn't involve vivisection. Who'd a thunk?
Nov 18, 2012 1:37AM
Guess Canadians study stupid crap like the USA does.
Nov 18, 2012 1:37AM
My dog(s) were discussing this very thing with me and another thing alot of humans are not aware of: My dog(s) were telling me how glad they were to be American dogs. I had never thought about it either until then, anyway one dog was telling me about seeing an abcd(I wont say which country) dog on tv. and he was thinking "Damn I'm glad I'm an American dog, those dogs have never heard of Alpo, will never have a chew toy,bla bla bla, I never had thought about it.
Nov 18, 2012 1:01AM
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

pics, advice, info and stories for pet lovers

  • Puppy friends (Photo: Courtesy of Mikkel Becker)

    Can dogs have best friends?

    The strong bonds that dogs can form are undeniable.

  • Angry cat (Photo: Thinkstock)

    10 things your pet won’t tell you

    Think you know your pet’s every unspoken wish? Think again. Your pet is unlikely to be capable of communicating her wants and needs in ways you might assume she would. Even those of you most in touch with your pets' feelings are likely missing a few cues here and there.

  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (Photo: Thinkstock)

    10 dog breeds that love and hate the water

    The Chesapeake Bay Retriever made both our readers' and veterinary professionals' lists of breeds that love the water.

  • 7 signs your dog owns you

    7 signs your dog owns you

    You might proudly call yourself a dog owner, pet parent or canine guardian, but let’s be real: Your dog owns you. You might be laughing now, but think about it — you've surrendered the best seat on the sofa to him, you plan your entire weekend around his trips to the dog park, and you take him to the groomer more often than you get your own hair cut. And let's not forget who's in every photo on your Facebook and Instagram feeds. Sound familiar? We thought so. But in case you still think you're in charge, here are seven classic signs that your dog is the one calling the shots.

  • 9 unusual dog breeds

    9 unusual dog breeds the vet is seeing more of

    One of the best things about being a veterinarian is all the different dogs I get to meet. Of course, I love the Labs and Beagles and Boxers and Poodles, not to mention those crazy Canine Cocktails, or what my parents used to call Heinz 57s. They are among the more popular dogs out there, and I see a lot of them. In fact, it used to be that it was rare to see anything else. Here are nine dog breeds I sometimes see now that I didn’t see in the past.

  • Shaving dog (Credit: Thinkstock)

    10 dog breeds that shed the most and least

    We asked veterinary experts and readers which breeds they think and if it is OK to shave longhaired pets in the summer.

  • Maine Coon

    12 kid-friendly cat breeds

    If you're searching for a breed that may enjoy the company of a kid, we have some great suggestions for you.

  • Labrador Retriever

    9 large dogs that can be good for families

    When searching for the right dog to add to your family, your first instinct might be to bring home a tiny little thing that your kids can cradle in their laps. But we're here to remind you that the best fit for you may be a large dog breed.

  • Akita

    11 stubborn dog breeds

    Many breeds were developed to do work that required them to act independently. Those dogs tend to be smart, but as family pets, they may need more leadership and training than others. Ultimately, though, they’re worth it. Here are 11 dog breeds that tend to have independent personalities.

  • Chimera cat with interesting facial colors

    13 pets with cool coats and markings

    Many of us here at Vetstreet are fascinated by pets who have unique coats and cool shapes hidden in their markings. So we asked our Facebook fans to share pictures of animals that have interesting coloration, and you did not disappoint. From mustachioed cats to a horse of a different color, here are our 13 favorite photos of pets with cool coats.

  • Jack Russell Terrier

    Dog breeds most likely to chew something up and land in the ER

    We surveyed 284 veterinary professionals (including vets, veterinary technicians and office staff) to see which breeds they felt were most likely to chew something they shouldn't and wind up in the veterinary emergency room, and we've listed the top five answers below. Do you agree with their opinions? Which breeds would you add to the list?

  • ​Simone Pievani, Getty Images // ​Simone Pievani, Getty Images (​Simone Pievani, Getty Images)

    Help your pet brave the Fourth of July fireworks

    This Fourth of July, Americans will celebrate with the sights and sounds of fireworks. While we love the pyrotechnics, it's important to remember that our patriotic midsummer spectacular is no holiday for many of our pets.

buzzing now on msn living
family videos
editor's pick