How to Keep Your Pet Entertained During Winter

Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer from being cooped up inside during the winter months. Your canine companion may be feeling the boredom as weeks go by and extreme weather keeps you and your dog indoors more than normal. Even your cats can feel a bit stir crazy as the long winter months creep by. What can a pet owner do? Here are our suggestions to keep your furry friends entertained through the long winter until spring arrives.

Exercise for Dogs

Sometimes you can only manage to get your dog outside long enough for a potty break. This will lead to a frustrated dog as the days go by. A bored dog will find ways to entertain himself, and that may result in a pet who chews up things he shouldn’t, like your favorite blanket or even your couch. While we’re here for you, our pet urgent care center would hate to get a telephone call from you after your dog ate something that may have caused him digestive harm.

There are many ways to exercise your dog indoors, no matter how small your space. Hide and seek is a great game that gives your pup some exercise and mental stimulation. Put your dog on a ‘sit-stay’ command, then go and hide somewhere in your home. Call your dog and reward him with lots of praise when he ‘finds’ you. You will find that this is one of your dog’s favorite new games!

If you have space, your dog may be able to play a calm game of fetch with a tennis ball as well. If he gets overly exuberant, try rolling the ball instead of throwing it.

Exercise for Cats

Your cat may be exceptionally lazy during the day when the heat is turned up and she just wants to cuddle in her cat bed or on your lap. Kitty needs exercise as well, and this is where that laser pointer toy can be used to get her up and going. Chasing the laser light stimulates your cat’s hunting instincts, making for a happy kitty by the end of your session.

Pet stores also make many stimulating cat toys that resemble mice and birds to chase. Try one of these toys that resemble a feather on a stick to get your cat moving around the house. As a safety reminder, always account for small toys,  especially toys with strings as they may cause an intestinal blockage if ingested.

Mental Stimulation for Pets

Your pets need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. For your dog, you may want to devise some games where he must ‘find’ a treat hidden underneath a shoebox. Your pup may enjoy some new toys but be sure to keep an eye on how he investigates that new toy: you do not want to discover that he began eating parts of it within the first few minutes!

Your cat will probably enjoy playing with a toy mouse filled with catnip. She also will love anything interactive with you, such as playing with a feathered toy that dangles off a stick.

For both canines and felines, consider pulling up the blinds on a window facing outside activity so your pet can watch what is going on outdoors. Some dogs and cats enjoy certain types of television shows, and there are computer videos specifically made for cats, so be sure to check those out.

Find ways to enjoy the winter with your pets. Your pets will love you for every single effort you put forth on their behalf!


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Angelika Demers, CVT

Clinical Supervisor

Angelika started her animal health career in 2014 when she attended the University of Maine Augusta, Bangor campus, for Veterinary Technology. She graduated in early 2018 and became a Certified Veterinary Technician later that year. Her internship, and first veterinary field job, was at the MSPCA Angell in Boston, where she discovered her interest in emergency medicine. Throughout the years, she has continued to advance her knowledge in the field of emergency medicine, but also in cultivating relationships with patients and clients alike to offer the best quality care. Outside of work she likes hanging out with her cat, Mew, spending time outdoors, watching game shows, and photography.