It can be hard to get out of your warm bed or off the cosy couch on a winter’s morning for exercise, and your pet can feel the same way too!
It’s important to continue exercising your pet in winter, as well as keeping them mentally stimulated. Being cooped up inside can encourage destructive and other negative behaviours. On a fine day, walks, runs, catching up with friends and play sessions in the park are perfect ways to keep your pet active. Depending on your pet’s personality and coat, you may be able to exercise in light rain with a dry-off after.
If this is not possible, here are some inside and weather-proof activity ideas you and your pet can enjoy:
- If your pet has healthy joints, walking up and down a set of stairs is a great work out!
- Tug-o’-war and fetch with toys.
- Practise some agility with furniture in your house. You can set up a mini obstacle course using chairs and other items.
- Carefully try out a treadmill. Some pets really enjoy walking and running on a treadmill indoors.
- Bring a branch in from outside for your cat to sniff and scratch. The different smells and textures will be exciting and enriching.
- Ask us or search your local area for indoor training, doggy day-care or agility classes.
- Go for a drive and visit a friend. If your pet enjoys car trips, restrain them safely and hit the road.
- Playing hide and seek will have your furry friend moving around the house & keep their minds active.
- Gift your kitty a box. A shoebox or appliance box makes an awesome playhouse and will keep them entertained for hours. For extra fun, cut some small holes in the box to create poke holes or windows.
- Playing games.
- Learning new tricks and commands.
- Practice some nose works. Hide healthy treats around the house for your pet to sniff out.
- Offer new toys and rotate old toys – your pet will appreciate having ‘new and different’ toys.
- Offer your pet a puzzle, such as a Kong with treats inside or a snuffle mat.
- Cat TV! Did you know YouTube has entire channels dedicated to entertaining your cat, with long videos of bird feeders, aquariums and other cat-captivating things? (Just make sure they don’t try to pounce at the TV).
There can be plenty of hazards to watch out for when your pet is exercising and playing indoors or outdoors:
- Watch out for heaters and fires! Your pet could end up with a nasty burn if they get too close
- Be careful your pet doesn’t over-heat while exercising indoors. Move to a cooler room or turn down the heater or air conditioning
- Outdoor surfaces can be cold and slippery for you and your pet. Consider your pet’s paws – if it’s too cold for your bare feet, it’s too cold for theirs too! Stick to walking on softer and warmer surfaces (like grass instead of concrete) or consider purchasing some fashionable and functional booties.
Make sure to dry your pet’s paws off after a walk outdoors if it is damp. Wet paws can dry slowly in the cooler months, allowing bacteria to grow, causing skin problems and stinky feet!