Temperatures below zero, snow everywhere, and unplowed sidewalks in the Twin Cities make it difficult to find a comfortable place to take your dog for a walk, much less the motivation to do so. And the cat? He would rather be warm in a pile of laundry than to be bothered lifting a paw. So how can you keep your pets active this winter?
- On winter days when the weather isn’t too bad, take your pet for a short walk. You might be surprised that once you’re outside and moving, your body warms up, and you enjoy the endorphins and the fresh air.
- Find a local indoor doggy playground/daycare or an indoor swimming pool for dogs. Or you can find a clinic with an underwater treadmill and Sport & Strength program to help keep your pet in shape!
- Use toys to play a variety of indoor games such as fetch, tug-of-war, etc.
- Did you know that your pet gets more tired when you make him use his brain than he will with physical exercise? Teach your dog some new tricks, or hide his food under a couch pillow and make him find it. Dogs love to solve puzzles!
- Take your pet on outings! Secure your dog with a seatbelt or in a crate and drive him/her around to a few stops. Go to the local pet store and get a new toy. Have a social visit with your veterinarian and let your pet have a treat. Arrange a play-date with a friend or neighbor’s dog.
- Create an indoor agility course for your dog. This way your dog is training while also exercising!
- Move the food dish around the house so your cat will be forced to go up and down the stairs to find it. You can also hide treats around the house for your cat to search for.
- Use toys like fetch balls, dangling feathers, or a laser pointer to encourage your cat to move around. Make sure you set aside time for play-time with your cat.
- You can clicker train or leash train your cat. You could also teach your cat new tricks like playing fetch. These can help your cat become more obedient while also giving him/her a work out.
- Create a cat gym or invest in a cat tree. Encourage your cat to move though instead of just climbing to the top and lying there all day. Use toys, laser pointers, etc… to make your cat go up and down the gym.
Do you have any other ways to keep your pet active in winter? Tell us in the comments! And if you have any concerns about your pet’s physical activity or weight, consult with your veterinarian to create a plan that fits your pet’s needs!