As the weather forecast continues to show rain, snow, and chilly temperatures, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking it's just another day to stay inside. The sunny days at the park or the beach seem like a distant memory.
In the colder months, it comes down to whether you want to go outside and whether your pet can even handle it. Dogs can generally handle temperatures as low as 45 degrees without any problems, but depending on their size and coat, colder days can give them trouble. Cats require extra attention in the winter too, if you let them go outside.
At this time of year, it's best to get creative so you can keep your pet safe and entertained indoors. Try these activities to pass the time until the temperatures warm up again.
Puppy play dates
If it's too freezing or wet for a trip to the dog park, this is the time to utilize those contacts you've formed from previous visits. Hopefully you've established a circle of friends who have pets and are willing to meet for some indoor playtime.
Pets love challenges, especially ones that give them some type of reward at the end. There are several options to test your pet's mind and keep them engaged.
- Hide treats in a puzzle game.
- Dangle toys from hard-to-reach places and have your pet try to retrieve them.
- Shower them with praise when they find something you've hidden or when they escape from underneath a blanket.
The point is to give them a tangible goal so they feel satisfied at the end. Laser pointers can be a fun option for keeping your pet active, but they can be bad for your pet if you use them too often.
Practice old tricks or teach new ones
Another way to challenge your pet and reward them is to work on tricks. Practice the basics, and try adding some new moves to the mix. Looking for something more advanced? Have your pet perform the tricks they know in a specific sequence.
Create an obstacle course
This one will probably take quite a bit of time to master, but you can line up some bottles or cans and place some treats along the path to lead your pet to the finish line. To make it more complicated, you can scatter some dead ends in there to make it a maze.
Play fetch/chase inside
Without the expansive grassy areas of a park, you'll be limited when throwing a toy indoors. You can get around that by throwing the toy up or down the stairs or in a clear hallway. It's also a great opportunity to practice the "sit" and "stay" commands.
End the day with some cuddles in front of the TV. Some cats and dogs will watch and maybe even recognize other pets on the screen.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.