It’s getting that time of the year where Old Man Winter can put a hamper on you and your pet’s outdoor activities. Just because it’s too cold, wet or slippery to go outside doesn’t give your pet an excuse not to exercise. The following are some ideas to help prevent cabin fever – for all of us.

Food Dispensing Toys

  • These types of toys are great at helping with a lot of potential issues. They increase activity, lengthen meal time to help with satiety (reducing begging), and increase mental stimulation by activating your dog and cat’s natural hunting and scavenging behavior.
  • Place all, or a portion, of your pet’s normal meal into the toy.
  • Use as your pet’s new “food bowl”.
  • Some examples include the Kong Wobbler and the Eggsercizer.
  • A quick internet search can give you some ideas on how to make your own too.
Food Hunt

  • Think of this as an Easter Egg hunt for your dog and cat.
  • Place a kibble or two in various location around the house and have your pet find them.
  • Don t forget the low calorie options (frozen/fresh green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, plain air popped popcorn).
  • Since your cat is probably not the scavenger your dog is, you may want to use only a couple locations. If it’s safe for your cat to jump up/down, don’t forget the vertical places your cat frequents.
Fetch

  • This variation is great for small dogs and cats.
  • Using a piece of kibble as a reward, toss or slide it across the room or floor.
  • When your pet comes back to you, repeat.
Hide and Seek

  • This activity may require at least two people.
  • Each person playing will go to a different part of the house or yard and will take turns calling your pet.
  • Once your pet finds the person calling them, and gets their reward, the next person calls for them.
  • Besides helping with exercise and mental stimulation, it also reinforces some of the basic obedience.
These games don’t have to be done only during the winter. Some of these activities are great additions to your pet’s weight loss plan.

Don’t forget to include your kids. Most love to help hide objects or help play hide-and-seek. Just make sure you are helping to control the amount of food your pet is getting