Staying active and mentally stimulated is as important for your pet’s health as it is for yours! If inclement weather is keeping you and your pets indoors, consider these activities to help stave off boredom, strengthen your human-animal bond, and maintain a healthy weight for your pet.
If extreme temps are headed your way, keep these tips in mind to keep dogs and cats safe in winter weather or these summer safety tips to beat the heat.
Ideas for Cats or Dogs
Both cats and dogs need to lead active lives to stay healthy, even when going outside isn’t an option. These tips will keep your cat or dog happy, healthy, and mentally engaged.
- YouTube channels for dogs or cats can provide hours of entertainment for your pet. Try playing them on a tablet with a scratch resistant screen protector so your pet can paw at the screen!
- Make an indoor obstacle course or box fort for your pets to explore. Include pillows or blankets as a comfy new place for them to curl up for a nap once they have worn themselves out.
- Teach your pet a new trick. Tricks aren’t just for dogs, and even old dogs can learn new tricks! Be patient with your pet, take breaks, and provide incentives. Remember that treats should account for 10% or less of a pet’s daily calories.
- Pets can get bored with the same old toys. Try introducing a new toy every few weeks or hide toys and rotate them so that they seem “new” and more interesting to your cat or dog.
Ensuring your cat plays every day can help him or her feel and act like a kitten for years to come. Keep cats active and mentally stimulated with these indoor activities.
- Try a variety of toys with your cat that allow him or her to stalk, chase, pounce, and kick, including interactive toys that move without your active participation in play time. Some interactive cat toys even offer scheduled play sessions to keep your cat entertained throughout the day when you aren’t at home.
- Food/treat toys and puzzles for cats take things to the next level when it comes to hunting, agility, and concentration. Try a toy mat or activity board that will provide a variety of activities for your cat to figure out all in one.
- Strategically placing cat scratchers in various places throughout your home provides enrichment for your cat while also preventing damage to your furniture. Try vertical and horizontal scratchers to see what your cat prefers!
- Cat trees and perches provide vertical space for your cats to explore. Observing from above is something cats crave. Place a cat tree or perch next to a window for even more entertainment.
- Bonus: A bird or squirrel feeder by a window that your cat can look out of will provide an endless source of excitement.
- Grow cat-safe grass inside to provide environmental enrichment while also offering nutritional benefits and supporting digestion. Learn more about cat grass.
Although safety measures can be taken to allow for short trips outside in the summer heat or freezing temperatures with your dog, those short trips may not provide enough physical activity or mental stimulation to satisfy your pup. When it’s necessary to stay indoors, keep your dog active with these tips.
- Puzzle toys for dogs, like snuffle mats, are a fun way to keep them occupied while enhancing their foraging skills.
- Hide and seek, both the traditional game and hiding and seeking toys, will get your dog moving and thinking in new ways.
- Does your pup love playing tug-of-war? Try playing for 5-10 minutes at a time spread out over the course of the day to prevent them from getting worn out and to keep them steadily active.
- Go for a car ride – safely! Check out these tips for driving with your pet.
- Schedule a play date with your pup! Dogs get enrichment from playing with other pets and people. Invite a friend to bring their dog over for a play date or find a new place for your pup to play with other dogs inside, giving them a different location to explore for a while.
Keeping your pet active and mentally stimulated is key to a long, healthy, and happy life, along with proper nutrition. Learn more about your pet’s nutritional needs.