The ONLY national non-profit organization for professional pet sitters.

Winter Indoor Activities

Brrr is it cold outside! The U.S. has been experiencing a historic winter so far, making it difficult for both people and animals to stay outside for more than a few minutes. With no end of winter in sight yet, if a pet parent doesn’t keep their pet active with activities and/or exercise, pets can develop behavioral issues and anxiety. Luckily, there are creative and fun ideas to bond with a pet during the winter months ahead.

Too often, pet parents find something in their pet’s mouth that they shouldn’t have. A winter day is the perfect time to pet proof a home by checking loose wires, decorative plants, accessible trashcans, children’s toys or any other spots a pet can find mischief. It doesn’t exactly sound like fun, but taking the time to clean a pet’s belongings including their bowls, bed and toys will keep a pet more hygienic. Treating a pet to a good solid brushing or bath will help shed fur and skin cells, create a shinier coat and promote better skin circulation. Other grooming techniques that a pet parent can do is clip their pet’s nails and brush their teeth.

These chores help keep a pet safe and healthy but they still need mental and physical stimulation. A new trick is always a good way to pass some time, and pet parents can use this time to combine obedience training and reward good behavior when the pet performs the new trick correctly. Invite a friend over who also has a pet, so that the two pets can get some exercise and social interaction. If there are any old shirts or rags laying around, there are easy ideas online that detail how to make a DIY pet toy. As long as there is a tug-of-war toy and a clear area, play as long and hard as a pet wants with this new toy. With pets that are larger or have more energy, try playing in the basement or garage (with the car pulled outside) for a larger open area.

A laser pointer, while typically used for cats, can also make a good toy for dogs who will love to chase it around. Hide and seek can be a fun game to play with a pet by hiding random treats around the home and watching a pet sniff them out, but remember to not put the treats by nice furniture. While playing fetch, throw a toy upstairs, if there are any, so that the pet gets more exercise with their legs. Making an agility course with chairs to weave around or toss a blanket over will create a makeshift tunnel for them to run under. Other things such as a broomstick or hula hoop will make the course more interactive.

While all the ideas listed above can be used for cats too, other ones include making a jungle of cat pleasing plants for them to explore, but make sure that the plants are cat safe. Cat parents can also keep their cat occupied by placing bird and squirrel feeders outside so that the cat is entertained by wildlife. Perches by windows or on shelves will get them closer to the action.

After all the fun and games, there is nothing better than ending the day cuddling, so take advantage of the opportunity winter weather provides and take this time to bond more with your pet.