The top ways to stop your fur baby from being bored this winter
During winter, there are days where it's far too cold and wet to go outside. No matter how many jackets you put on, the wind is so icy you don't want to leave the warmth of your home.
And if you're feeling the cold, there's no doubt your furry friends are too.
They'd much prefer to be tucked up inside with you, keeping warm and being by your side.
If you've got an older dog, they're probably 100% content with sleeping in a warm bed all day long, occasionally getting up to eat or drink or popping outside for a pit stop.
But for more active dogs, keeping them inside for long periods can be challenging.
So, let's look at some ways you can keep your pets entertained inside on cold and rainy days.
The benefits of keeping your pets happy inside
Bored pets, especially dogs, will get up to mischief. I'm sure you've all heard stories from your friends about 'bad behaviour' – like the Husky who chewed through a wall as she couldn't entertain herself for half an hour!
You're the primary source of entertainment for your pet. You're the master, and they adore you.
If you're not giving your pets' things for entertainment, they will find their own ways to cure boredom. Dogs tend to be chewers, working their way through shoes or the legs of furniture, whereas cats tend to climb up curtains or flyscreens.
According to Mark Evans, the former chief veterinarian of the RSPCA, he reports that 'play is very, very important and the type and frequency of play are a good indication of the dog's quality of life'.
The top 7 ways to keep your pets entertained this winter
1. Hide and seek
Grab your pet's favourite treats (I recommended you check out Bugsy's), and set up a game of hide and seek. Pop the treats around a room or the house while your pet is in a different room. Then let them at it.
Indulging their sense of smell, you'll be tiring them out as they search around your home for their treats. Make sure you give lots of praise and encouragement.
2. Stuff a Kong
Kong treats are a favourite way many dog owners keep their pets entertained. Many people who work away from home have found a stuffed Kong can entertain their dog longer than many other treat toys. And if you've popped your Kong in the freezer overnight and give it to your dog before you leave home, it'll last even longer.
Kong's are non-toxic, indestructive, and even dishwasher safe, so you can give it a clean when it becomes too slobbery!
3. Play tug of war
Dogs love tug of war, and it's great for your arm strength too! Playing this game is a brilliant way to exercise them mentally and physically. You don't need heaps of room, so it's perfect for playing in your hallway.
You can buy tug of war toys at any pet store, or you can use an old piece of rope or material that won't rip easily.
4. Teach your dog chores
Seriously! You can teach any dog new tricks. If they know 'drop', you can teach them how to pick up their toys and return them to a basket once playtime is over. Your dog loves being around you, and stimulating their imagination to help you is a great way to keep them entertained.
Need help with the washing? Let them pop clothes in your basket. Need help washing the car? Let them hold the hose in their mouth and squirt the car. Need help getting your slippers? Let them fetch them for you.
5. Chase bubbles
If you've got kids, you'd know how fun and straightforward blowing bubbles can be. But have you ever tried it out with your dog? It's a super easy way to keep your dog happy and entertained.
Dogs are fascinated by bubbles. You can buy an automatic bubble machine, or you can spend some time blowing bubbles for your dog. You'll be laughing as they run around trying to catch bubbles and watching their face as they magically pop and disappear.
6. Snuggle up on the couch
You don't always need to be on the go to keep your dog entertained. When it's too cold and wet to go outside, snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and let your pet sit with you.
Cats will happily snuggle all winter long (enjoy that attention while you can!), and dogs will curl up beside you (or try to sit on you) and be snoring their heads off in no time at all. Your pets will be more than happy if they're by your side, keeping warm.
7. Play tag
Have you ever played tiggy with your dog? It's a fun game to teach them. Make them sit, pat them on the head and say 'tag'. Then run around so they can chase you. When they catch up with you, you're caught! Make sure you give them lots of praise.
If you have a cat, grab a laser pointer and swirl it around the room. You can also buy automatic ones of these! Your cat will be entertained for hours chasing this magical red dot that keeps disappearing.
Being indoors with your pet doesn't need to be boring or destructive
Bored pets will get up to mischief – everyone knows that. So, try some of these methods to keep your dog entertained on the cold and wet winter days. Pets love interaction, so even if you need to go out, find some toys that will keep them entertained on their own.
You don't need many fancy toys either, just a bit of time, imagination and dedication.
If you've got any other fun games or ideas to share, please pop them in the comments below.
And finally, if you're looking for a dog walker or sitter to help keep your dog entertained, please get in touch.