Pet owners know that it can be difficult to keep your cat or dog active during the cold winter months. It’s important that you’re making sure your pets are still being stimulated through the winter, whether they can go outside to play or not.
Winter Activities for Dogs
Learn a New Trick
Mental stimulation can be just as tiring as physical activity, as it’s a challenge to both the dog and the owner to learn a new trick. Try something a little more involved than you usually teach your dog, like hide and seek with toys or treats, so that your dog learns to “find them.” This same trick can also be applied to treats hidden in items such as muffin tins with a tennis ball in each spot.
Winter can also be a good time to work on more complicated training that doesn’t have to be done outdoors. At Woodbine Animal Clinic, one of our team members taught her dog to “clean up” her toys during the winter. It took a few weeks but it really wore the dog out!
Indoor Physical Activities
When it comes to physical activities, try a treadmill or running up and down the stairs. If you have enough room, like a large basement, you can also try indoor fetch. Find a local agility facility or create your own in your home, by placing chairs and other items so that your dog has to climb, crawl, or leap over them.
Daycare or Playdates
Local daycare may also be a good idea, even if it’s just one day a week. These visits can be a great way to keep your pets socialized and exercised. At-home playdates can also work.
Winter Activities for Cats
Get Them Moving
Not all cats are food-motivated, but those that are will often run after a kibble or two being tossed around. Others will have lots of fun chasing a laser pointer or a toy mouse. Food motivated cats, like dogs, can be taught tricks as well!
Find New Feeding Spots
For lazier cats, try moving food around to different locations throughout the home – both low and high – so that they have to work a bit to get their food.
Hide Toys or Treats
For outdoor cats, try to keep them indoors when it’s cold. Hiding toys or treats for them to “hunt” maybe help keep them busy in the house a little longer.
Get New Toys
For both dogs and cats, it’s easy to introduce them to new toys to keep them interested and active. There are lots of toys specifically designed to make pets work for their food or treats, which is a great way to keep them stimulated during the winter months.At Woodbine Animal Clinic in Toronto, we have lots of treat and toy options available for you to shop online from the comfort of your home!
If have a cat or dog that needs to be more active this winter, we encourage try one of our tips above. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions!