When the days get colder and the snow settles all around you, it’s as hard for your pooch and kitty to frolic outside as it is for you. However tempting it is to snuggle up with your little one for long hours at home, it’s not really the best thing to do day-after-day through the winter. Your pet needs to move about as much as you to get their circulation going and stay fit.
Expert dog trainers say that lack of activity in any season can make your pet gain weight. Excess weight can bring down agility and lead to injury. Long, dreary hours at home can also be boring and frustrating for your furry friend. Don’t be surprised to see your pooch look for less favorable ways to entertain himself such as chewing your socks, ruining your boots or tearing apart the cushions that grandma gave you if your pooch has nothing better to do. Inactivity and lack of socialization can create behavioral issues in your pet that’s hard to deal with. Get your pet moving through the icy months. Here are a few ways:
Winter Activities for Dogs
- Teach New Tricks: Challenge your little one through new games and puzzles. Keep them preoccupied with new toys. Even 15 minutes are enough to keep them vigilant and fit.
- Teach New Commands: Teach new commands to keep their brain active. Train them in new ways such as following instructions in sign language or from a distance.
- Hide and Seek: Hide toys or treats in the snow and have them dig them out.
- Toss and Fetch: Fling a toy in the hallway and tell them fetch it for you. Reward them when they find it. Dogs love to play in the soft snow. Let them run around on bright, sunny days after a fresh snowfall.
- Play Date with a Pooch Friend: Have a friend with a pooch drop by to visit you both or visit them. Most dogs love company.
- Doga Classes: Dog yoga classes are fairly common these days. Find out if there is one near your home and set off together for a stretch.
- Take a Walk: Take your dog for a stroll in the woods on sunnier days.
Winter Activities for Cats
- Cat and Mouse: Kittens love to play and get pampered as much as pups do. Keep your kitty preoccupied with indoor games. Get a small toy mouse that rattles to get them up and about.
- Catnip Fun: Roll the toy in catnip, let them sniff it and hurl the toy down the hallway to get them chasing after it.
- Fun with Feathers: Cats love feathers and balls dangling on a stick or string. Get your cat off the bed and bouncing and pouncing around.
- Keep them Well-Fed and Hydrated: Good nutrition is important for pets, especially when the temperature drops. They need more food to help keep their bodies warm. Make sure they have fresh, clean water at all times. If the water freezes up, change the metal bowl for a plastic one. Consult your vet to find out exactly how much food your pet needs based on their health conditions.
- Keep them Warm: Don’t leave them out for too long in sub zero temperatures or they will get frostbite. Make sure your home is well insulated. Keep them away from toxic chemical de-icers. Snow and ice caught between their toes can cause bleeding and painful sores.
If you live in Mississauga or the surrounding area, visit Dr. Davinder Jassal, a licensed veterinarian, to look after your pet’s health. Eglinton Hwy 10 Veterinary Clinic is a full-service animal hospital and we take both emergency cases as well as less urgent medical, surgical, and dental issues. Our clinic offers a comfortable, kid-friendly, calm environment to help your pet relax while they wait for their favorite vet. If you want to know more about our staff and services, call us. We look forward to meeting you and your pet.