Combating Cabin Fever How to keep your dogs (and you) from going stir crazy in wintertime.

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beagle at window

When winter’s cold weather is punctuated with seemingly endless bouts of heavy snow and pelting rain and we’re stuck indoors, it’s understandable that we start suffering from cabin fever. And it’s no surprise that our dogs often feel the same way, too.

Getting outside is not only about bracing the cold for potty breaks, it’s important in keeping dogs well exercised. When the weather is such a challenge, it’s a good idea to introduce more walks in a day, each for a shorter time. This way, your pooch will get his normal exercise without being exposed to the elements for long periods. If you are lucky enough to have a pet-friendly indoor mall in your area, it is a great place to go for your daily exercise. Window-shopping never gets boring.

Playtime at Paws & Pals!

Playtime at Paws & Pals!

Dogs are very social creatures and, no doubt, many would enjoy doggie daycare sessions. This is another great cold weather alternative because, apart from the safe and organized play supervised by pet care attendants, simply hanging with other dogs will ensure your pooch gets plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

You can beat winter boredom and rev up your dog’s energy levels by playing indoor games at home, too. For ball-obsessed dogs, it’s all about the ball; not necessarily where the game is played. Let’s face it; such a dog will play fetch just about anywhere. It’s just a matter of remembering to roll the ball instead of throwing it in order to protect electronics and furniture. In addition, if you happen to live in a two-story home, you can add another level to the game by rolling the ball down the stairs.

Canine board games such as the Buster Activity Mat and puzzle toys such as those created by Nina Ottosson really challenge dogs and offer great mental and physical stimulation. Board games and puzzles involve hiding treats or small toys and allowing your dog to extricate them. In fact, behaviorists say that 10 minutes of such mental play is the equivalent of 45 minutes of active play.

Finally, don’t forget doggie play dates at another dog’s home. Canines enjoy new environments with a friend the same way kids do. In the end, don’t let the winter slow you down too much.  The key is to get up and moving with your furry friend while having some fun together!

 

 

Article source: Animal Behavior College

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