When the weather is nice, the decision to play with your pet outside is an easy one. However, no one wants to go outside when it is brutally cold, snowy, or rainy.
Though pets may not be as weather-aware as their human companions, they still may find it uncomfortable to be outside during inclement weather. In fact, taking your furry friends outside when it’s bone-achingly cold can be both painful and dangerous for them, depending on the amount of time they spend in the frigid temperatures. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends keeping your pets inside when it’s cold, using the rule of thumb, “If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets.”
Just because the weather is unpleasant doesn’t mean that the time you get to spend with your pet has to be! Luckily, there are many ways that you can entertain your furry friend without exposing them (or you) to the miserable weather outside!
Here are five ways that you can safely and easily play with your pet indoors:
Hide and Seek
Though hide and seek is a popular game for children, it may not immediately occur to pet owners to play this game with their furry friends. The rules are essentially the same. Command your dog to “stay,” give them a treat to distract them, or have a family member keep them in one room while you go and hide. Once you are ready, you can call their name and have them find you.
You may want to find an easy spot to hide at first, but this game is a great way to challenge your dog and their hunting skills. Get creative about where you hide – the trickier the spot, the higher the cognitive challenge for your pet! In order to really tire out your pet, find places to hide all over your house! Before you know it, you will have a pet who is exhausted and fulfilled by the fun challenge you have made for them!
Scavenger hunts are similar to hide and seek games. Instead of hiding yourself, you can hide treats or scented toys all over your house. In order to do this, find another activity to occupy your pup while you’re hiding the goods. Once you’re ready for your pet to begin their search, release them into an area where the treat will be easy to find.
If your dog is unsure about what to do, you can help guide them to the first treat. You can even use vocal cues, like telling your dog to “find the treat!” After they get the hang of the game, you can hide the treats in increasingly difficult places, giving your dog greater challenges as they can handle them.
Using toys to entertain your pet while stuck inside can be a great way to give your pet a positive, productive way to use their brain and exhaust their energy in a small or confined space. Even if the weather isn’t bad, it is still a good idea to regularly switch up your pet’s toys in order to keep them interested. If it’s been a while since they’ve gotten new toys, consider adding a few new toys for your dog to play with when expecting inclement weather.
When looking to expand your pet’s collection, consider toys that offer different functions. You may want a variety of toys — some that offer your pet a chance to chew, some that they can chase, and there are even some puzzles or treat-dispensing toys that your dog may enjoy playing with. A variety of toys will keep your dog interested and occupied for hours at a time!
Creating an indoor obstacle course for your furry friend if you’ve been stuck inside is a quick and easy way to give your pet a way to use some excess energy. You can create an obstacle course using household items like chairs, cardboard boxes, balls, hula hoops, or whatever else you can find! Tailor your course to the physical needs of your pet! It is also important to make sure you aren’t asking your pet to do something you won’t want them doing later, such as jumping on tables or climbing on chairs.
Obstacle courses are great, as you can easily scale them up or down depending on the space available to you. Once you’ve got the course set up, guide your pet through fun physical challenges, making sure to reward them with lots of praise and excitement and some yummy treats!
Another way to give your furry friend a chance to expend some energy is to plan an indoor playdate for your pup. Many of the ideas mentioned earlier can easily be scaled up or down depending on the number of dogs that are in need of entertainment!
Consider Doggie Daycare
If you want to make sure that your dog is getting socialization and regular exercise during the cold months, but you don’t have the time or space to do that in your home, consider sending your furry friends to one of the five Greenlin Pet Resort facilities that are conveniently located in Central Pennsylvania.
At Greenlin Pet Resorts, we have Dog Daycare options that include an indoor climate-controlled play gym for days with bad weather, which will give your sweet pet a chance to socialize and exercise with other dogs. We also have long-term pet boarding options and obedience training, which can all be tied into playtime in our indoor gym.
Our friendly and knowledgeable employees are waiting to hear from you! You can schedule a time to take a tour of our facilities or meet with a trainer, who can answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. We know your dog will love playing in our climate-controlled facilities, with playground equipment and all the toys they could ever want! Contact us today to become part of our Greenlin family!