Snow Day Activities for Dogs and Cats
You can exercise and play with your pet even when you're stuck indoors. Daily physical activity is essential for your pet's physical and mental well-being -- and your sanity. When the snow is piled high and the temperatures dip, you can still get your dog moving for the recommended 30 minutes and your cat active for 10 to 15 minutes per day. Try these simple - and fun - physically-active games for your pets until the snowdrifts settle.
Indoor pet exercise games
1. High and low
This game is like squats for your dog or cat. With a kibble of food in one hand, have your pet lie down or sit. For dogs, lower the treat and coax your dog to jump up and follow it. Then quickly lower the reward again and return the dog to a sitting or lying position. An ideal “high and low” is when your dog explodes upward and immediately lays down again. Repeat this three to five times before giving the food.
For cats, place their food on a counter or table (add a pinch of tuna or salmon for extra incentive) and have the cat jump up to get it. Return the bowl to the floor and repeat several times.
2. Hide and seek
This is similar to fetch but without the throwing—and resulting broken lamps. Show your dog a favorite toy. Lead your dog into another room while you hide the toy from your dog’s view. Make the hiding place obvious at first, like the toy peeking out from under a pillow. You may have to help your dog find the toy the first couple of tries. When your dog finds the toy, praise and give a kibble of food. Hide the toy in progressively more challenging places as the game continues. This game is so fun you won’t need food after a couple of rounds.
3. Find the food
Cats are natural predators. To tap into the instinct and encourage your cat to get its move on, try dividing the food into small bowls placed throughout your house. Have your cat watch as you “hide” the bowls. Your cat will “hunt” the food throughout the day. This is one of the best ways to get corpulent cats on their feet and burning calories.
4. Follow the leader
This classic indoor game uses the same skills as “come and get it” you often play outside. Show your dog or cat a favorite toy and call her to you. Walk around your house with your pet following you. Go as fast as you like; just don’t blame your pet for any broken items.
5. Obstacle course
Set up an indoor obstacle course made of empty drawers, buckets, pillows, boxes, or broomsticks. Have your dog jump, crawl, and navigate around furniture and objects for an intellectually stimulating activity. Playtime is about togetherness, not the quality of your toys. Get creative and resourceful to make even the dullest day bright with love and excitement.
6. Remote-controlled toys
Technology has provided pet owners an almost endless supply of remote-controlled toys. Many dogs and cats will chase a remote-controlled car or interactive talking toy. Look for a pet-friendly toy or car that has few small parts and is durable enough to withstand a paw strike or bite. Don’t scold your pet if it destroys the toy; fun happens.