With all the rain we’ve been getting lately, your pets must be going stir crazy. Winter can be a difficult time for pets who are used to being outdoors or going on daily walks. Being cooped up for days means they have a lot of energy and not enough exercise.

When this happens, chaos ensues – plants get destroyed, shoes get chewed up, pillows end up on the floor and furniture can get knocked down. They really just need to let out all that pent-up energy and get a bit of distraction from the boredom of being indoors.

Here are some tips to keep dogs and cats entertained during the winter season:

  • Keep them stimulated mentally – New toys, puzzles and treat toys can keep your cats and dogs busy for hours. While there are many you can buy online or in pet stores, you can also DIY it! It’s a good way to spend an afternoon indoors. You can craft your own toys from old t-shirts, tennis balls or water bottles.
  • Play with them – Keep your pets on their toes with new games. Hide familiar treats or their favourite toys and get your dog to search for it around the house. Contrary to popular belief, cats also enjoy a game of fetch. A game of tug is always great for wearing out active dogs. Cats, on the other hand, will enjoy chasing light reflections. So you can use a compact mirror, a torch or even a laser pointer to have fun with your cat.
  • Go to a pet daycare – Check if there’s a pet day care, an indoor dog park or agility gym that you can take your dog to so they can still run around even when it’s cold out. A cattery or a cat hotel would be a good option to take your cats to if they need a break from the usual environment.
  • Teach them new tricks – If your pet hasn’t mastered sit, stay, lie down and roll over yet, winter is the perfect time to practice. If they’ve got the basics down, you can start building up their skills with chain commands – try the puppy pushup which combines sit, lay down and sit again. Training does not only apply to dogs! Cats can be trained too and winter gives you the perfect opportunity to test this.

When all else fails, you can always resort to some good old-fashioned hugs and snuggles. A little bit of attention goes a long way. Your pets won’t feel the boredom of being stuck indoors if you’re spending time with them.