Winter Games & Activities For You and Your Pets
Living in Edmonton means there will be a few days, or even weeks, where the temperatures dip so low that Edmonton is the coldest place on earth. As Pet owners, this can affect you and your pet’s live! If your active dog can’t get outside for their normal out amount of exercise, they may start to drive you nuts with their built-up energy. If you have an outdoor cat, you know they’ll be crying at the door wanting to go out as well, but of course, sending them out for longer than a bathroom break is not worth the risk of frostbitten toes! So, how do you occupy your furbabies while you wait for the temperature to reach a normal winter level in Edmonton? We’ve come up with a list of several games & activities you can try out with your dog or cat!
- Scavenger Hunt
This game can be played with both cats and dogs! If your pets are motivated enough by their kibble, you can use it for this game. Otherwise, we recommend using treats that have a strong scent to attract your pet to them. Hide food in tough, but not impossible to reach places around your house. Start with an easier hiding place that your pet can find quickly and then build up the level of difficulty. If you have a cat, make them work for these treats! They can jump and climb places dogs cannot. Get them moving all over your house! The same goes for dogs, start simple so they understand the game, then make it more challenging! Hid treats under a pillow that can be flipped, or make them hustle up and down the stairs. Up the ante, have your dog sit and stay in another room until you’ve hidden all the treats. Then release them to run around to find all the goodies!
- Food Puzzles
Food puzzles are popular these days for both cats and dogs! Similar to the scavenger hunt, they help your pet problem solve and to figure out how to get food. Food Puzzles can be bought in-store or online from any pet store in Edmonton, or you can make a DIY food puzzle at home. One simple DIY to make uses a muffin tin, balls, and treats. Put a treat in each tin, cover each tin with a ball or other toy of similar size, and have your dog figure out how to get their food. For a cat, cut a paw sized hole in an old Tupperware, throw in a toy, food and some treats and watch your cat try to figure out how to get their food out!
- Teach your Pet a New Trick
Learning a new trick is a great way of keeping your pet sharp! No pet is too old, they might be a little slower to learn, but the slogan “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is outright wrong! Google is a great source to find a plethora of pet trick videos to watch and follow along to train your pet something they haven’t done before. Cats can learn to do a lot of the same tricks that dogs do. Work on having your cat shake a paw and greet friends when they cover over or have your dog learn to wave goodbye when your friends leave, they’ll be impressed with the adorable “manners” you’ve trained your pet to have.
- Flirt Pole
A flirt pole is a long pole with a rope and lure that’s used to entice your dog or cat to chase. Flirt poles provide a lot of exercise, and they are mentally stimulating! They are a way to get both your cat and dog to use their natural prey drive in a non-destructive way. Plus, you can practice impulse control by teaching both pets to drop the lure on command! When playing remember to let your pet ‘win’ or catch the lure on occasion as a reward!
Many of these activities do require food/treats, but keep in mind mental stimulation helps burn off energy as well. In fact, mental games can be just as, or even more, tiring than physical exercise. This is especially useful during those colder winter days. But of course, physical exercise is important for overall health as well!!