Keep Your Pet Happy in Inclement Weather
By Shelby Schulz, Pet Help Line Coordinator
When the weather outside is frightful, our pets are still ready to play! Physical exercise and mental stimulation are just as important in the winter months but can be tougher when outside activities are limited. However, you can keep your pet active and engaged in your home.
Flirt Pole: A flirt pole lets you wear your pup out and reinforce good manners. As a bonus, it takes almost no energy from you, but gets your dog running! It looks like an oversized “fishing pole” cat toy. You can buy it online or make one yourself. We have a quick tutorial on our blog, kyhumane.org/blog.
Once you get a pole, have your dog sit, leave the toy, and then give the cue to chase it. Maneuver the pole in a circle or side to side and let your dog chase the toy. Allow your dog to catch it and have a moment to enjoy his victory. Then have your dog drop the toy, and start over again. End the play session by trading the toy for a tasty treat.
Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated. There are a variety of toys on the market and many you can make. (See our blog for a simple DIY puzzle toy.) Puzzle toys keep him entertained by requiring him to figure out how to release or find the hidden treats. It is important to start with easy toys and progress to harder ones. If your dog cannot figure out the toy, he may become disinterested. Toys can be found in pet stores, and Pinterest has many DIY versions.
Kibble Hunt: This game is a great way to keep your dog occupied mentally and physically. Hide your dog’s kibble around the house. Start by hiding the treats so they are easy to find. As your dog starts to understand the game, make the hiding spots harder.
Ball Pit: This is an easy and low-cost way to keep your cat active and entertained. Take a handful of ball-style cat toys. Put them in your bathtub. Entice your cat into the bathtub with treats. When she is in the tub, roll the balls around. Once your cat gets into the game, she will keep it going herself as the balls roll in the tub.
Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys aren’t just for dogs! Pet stores and Pinterest have plenty of puzzles just for felines. Here’s how to make my favorite DIY cat puzzle toy: Cut the top off a tissue box. Stack and glue toilet paper rolls to fill the box. Hide cat treats in random toilet paper roll compartments. Your cat will have to figure out which hold treats and pull them out!
Box Castle: Wondering what to do with leftover boxes? Make fun hideouts for your cat! Build a tunnel with windows, a maze, a castle. The Internet is sure to give you some ideas. Your cat will have fun exploring your construction, and you might get some laughs out of her shenanigans.
Ask the Experts
Got a pet-related question? Call our Pet Help Line to receive free advice and connect to local pet resources, (502) 509-4PET or visit kyhumane.org/help. Our Pet Help Line is made possible by grants from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Banfield Foundation. The Pet Help Line is designed to help keep pets in their homes and out of shelters by giving owners the tools they need to have healthy relationships with their pets.