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Cats, Dogs

How to Keep Your Pet Active in the Winter Months

With dropping temperatures, the allure of your cozy couch and favorite blanket can be stronger than ever. Resist the urge to let your pet (and yourself!) become a couch potato this winter. Although the weather outside might be frightful, your pet still needs regular exercise to maintain optimal health and well-being.

Play indoors

When it’s too cold to go out, the natural solution is to find a way to stay inside! Do you have a long set of stairs your pet can run with you? What about a hallway suitable for fetch? Just make sure you remove all breakable or valuable items from the path of destruction.

Laser pointers are also fun for your four-legged companions to chase (yes, even dogs!) and can provide hours of entertainment for your pet and the rest of your family members.

Sign up for agility classes

Take your dog’s obedience to the next level while wearing him out at the same time! Enrolling in an agility class is a great way to socialize your pet while also teaching new skills.

Got a cat? Agility classes at home are a breeze! Cats’ natural inclination toward curiosity makes agility games fun and easy for you and your feline friend. You probably have many of the things you need on hand already, but string and a favorite toy are a great place to start.

Take your pet with you to pet friendly places

Does your pet have a cabin fever? Why not treat them to a visit at their favorite pet store! Wandering the aisles provides the same exercise an outdoor walk would, and this can also give your pet the opportunity to practice her social skills with other humans and animals.

Incorporate mental exercise into their daily routine

Make mealtime a fun game by stuffing their food or treats into a feeding toy, rather than their regular food dish. Studies show pets enjoy their food more when they have to work for it, plus this will provide him with additional mental stimulation to keep boredom at bay.

Dress for the cold

On days when it’s not miserably cold, it is still important to get your pet outside for a walk. Be sure to dress yourself and your pet for the cold, to keep you both comfortable and safe. Investing in a warm coat, hat, gloves, and proper footwear for yourself can make your time outside bearable (maybe even enjoyable!).

It’s just as important to properly outfit your pet, also. Coats or vests can keep shorter-haired dogs warm, and booties can keep their paws safe from sidewalk salt and other chemicals used to prevent ice. If your pet is less than enthused about his new footwear, you can purchase special wipes or rinse his feet when you return home, to prevent irritation or illness.

Keeping your pet active in the cold weather is all about variety and flexibility. These tips, combined with some creative thinking, can help you and your pet beat the wintertime blues.

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