With the recent cold snap that put Florida and its cold-stunned, falling iguanas in headlines, we thought we’d look at a few fun ways you and your pet can stay cozy and warm while playing indoors this season. Now, we don’t often have to take cold weather into consideration around here, but for those times when the mercury dips below average temperatures, it’s best to have a few indoor alternatives to keep our pets comfortable and active. Here are a few creative activities to keep your four-legged companions engaged:
- Play Games – For those times when you’re unable to put as much focus on your pet’s outdoor physical activity, you can still focus on their mental stimulation. Set up a few games around the house. You can invent your own games that work on your pet’s memory, like hide and seek, or you can give them elaborate puzzles that put their problem-solving skills to the test. Games and toys that incorporate treats as incentives will be especially successful, not to mention exciting!
- Follow the Leader – As far as indoor games go, follow the leader may be one of the easiest yet most rewarding for all. Pets often follow us around anyway, so give your pet a reason to get those steps in. Get up, even when you don’t need to, and walk them around your home, even up and down the stairs (for those physically able to do such). Carry a treat around the house with you for those pets who need a little more motivation to get up and move. Your steps will add up, and it can feel like you just took a nice walk together.
- Play Fetch – Playing a game of indoor, mini fetch with your pet can ensure your pet still gets some exercise while sharing quality time with you. Instead of long throws, simply roll a ball or gently toss their favorite toy just out of reach. But, remember, safety first. Make sure there’s enough room for your pet to move around, that your floors have enough traction, and that there’s nothing around that can accidently be knocked over.
- Work on Obedience – Obedience training is essential to your pet’s well-being. It teaches them behavioral skills that apply to absolutely everything in their life, from safety to interacting with others. So, take some time to work on their communication skills. Practice old commands, or teach new commands. Not only is this mentally stimulating, it can also help burn off some of that pent-up energy.
It may not happen often, but when the weather chills enough to drive you and your pet indoors, be sure to make the most of your time together. Pets need activity and stimulation to maintain their overall well-being, so don’t use the thermometer as an excuse not to engage. Get creative, and use this time as an opportunity to spend more quality time together bonding.