During warm months, it is much easier to keep your pets active, but what do you do during cold winters? Inactivity in pets can often be a sign of health problems in your pet, or can even lead to health problems. Here are some tips for your pets:
Keeping Your Cats Active
If you’ve ever had an outdoor cat, you will know that they are hunters. Growing up, my family had a cat that would leave all sorts of trophy kills at our doorstep, such as mice, birds, and even rabbits. For most people though, cats are indoor pets. Indoor cats have less space to wander and explore, but this doesn’t mean that they are condemned to a life of laziness. Below are our top tips for keeping your cats active:
1. Make sure your cat has company
If you have extra pets in your home, this will naturally keep your pet more active than if it was a single pet. Cats sometimes take some time to become introduced to other animals in the house, but after a while they will usually be on good terms. If you don’t have any other pets in your household, make sure to play with the cat yourself several times a week. This will help you to bond with your cat and give him/her some needed exercise.
2. Give your cat some toys
Most people think cat toys have to be purchased from a pet store, but cats will play with about anything. We know that cats love to play with yarn. If you don’t have any yarn, rope or thread will work just as well. If you’ve seen the videos of cats chasing laser pointers, you will know that this is also a good form of exercise. Just make sure you keep the laser dot away from your cat’s eyes. Be creative. Many different household objects can become cat toys. I’ve even seen a cat claw at the zipper on a backpack for about 15 minutes.
3. Help your cats to climb
Growing up, we had a yard full of trees that our cats would climb. If you have an indoor cat, give them some space in your home where they can climb. If you don’t want to have them climbing on your furniture, consider buying or building a cat tree. A cat tree is to a cat what a jungle-gym is to a child. Not only will it help your cat to exercise, but it will also be a place where your cat can go to to feel relaxed.
Keeping Your Dogs Active
Most people will think that it isn’t very difficult to keep dogs active. Dogs are naturally more active than cats are, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore their activity level. Taking your dogs on walks is definitely a good thing to do, but often, people will stop taking their dogs on walks when the weather starts to get colder. Here are some tips that you can do during these times:
1. Play fetch indoors
If your home has the necessary space and you don’t have anything fragile nearby, consider playing fetch with your dog inside. My father would often play fetch with our dog by throwing a ball or some other type of toy down the stairs. After about 20 or so rounds, our dog would be exhausted. It doesn’t take much effort to throw a ball or a toy, and this will only take up a few minutes of your day.
2. Hide and seek
You played this game as a child, but did you know you can get your dogs to play it too? Have one person watch your dog while you hide somewhere. After you’ve properly hidden yourself, have the other person release your dog. If you dog isn’t trying to look for you, consider giving your dog a treat, then hiding yourself with another treat. The dog’s nose will ultimately find you. If you don’t feel like hiding yourself, you can always make a trail of treats throughout your home that the dog can look for.
3. Training classes
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but with the right amount of determination, you can train your dog whether it is old or young. During winter months, consider taking your dog to obedience school at a pet store or other organization. This is a great opportunity to have your pet socialize and exercise. If you don’t have the time to enroll in a class, try to teach your dog a new trick at home. There are many tutorial videos that you can find online. While not all of them may work out in the end, it is definitely time not wasted.
4. Take short walks
When walking your dogs during cold months with snow and ice, you will want to make the walks shorter and even provide your dog with dog booties to protect their paws from the cold. Even a simple bathroom trip outside followed up by a few minutes of exercise and running around are good exercise for your dog.
To conclude, keeping your pets active will not only keep them physically healthy, but it will keep them mentally stimulated. Active pets are happy pets. Be creative in looking for ways to play with your cats and dogs. A little time each day is better than nothing.
For more information on this topic or other topics, visit our website: utahpetcare.toddgoates.com