pet enrichmentWe know the scene well: a dark grey sky, windows streaked with rain, and a frigid wind whipping against the house. Pets might find themselves outside during inclement weather, but probably not for long. Instead, they lounge around, perfectly content to wait it out. But what happens when this goes on for days on end? The Pet Experts know that most pets not only require, but benefit from, daily physical exertion and mental stimulation. The solution? Pet enrichment activities that last the entire season.

Up Your Game

One of the easiest things you can do to alleviate the winter doldrums is to increase the volume and variety of the toys you provide your pet. While your personal involvement and observations are necessary to keep your pet safe, you can create games for your pet using toys from around the house. For example:

  • Create a scavenger hunt.
  • Play hide-and-seek together.
  • Provide treat-dispensing toys (but watch out for excessive chewing on the toy).
  • Introduce food puzzles.
  • Purchase interactive toys.
  • Chew toys, like Nylabone, are great for dogs who need to gnaw.

Remember, it’s a good idea to store toys when you leave the house to reduce the risk of choking, entanglement, or worse.

Pet Enrichment

A great way to tap into pet enrichment is through the excitement of meeting new friends. Either set up a group playdate at your house or coordinate with other friends or neighbors who share the same goal. Similar to the dog park, group playdates should be closely supervised and all safety protocols enforced (vaccinations and general health, etc.).

Go Out…Where?

Even though the weather might be cold, don’t be afraid to go outside. The right gear makes a big difference, even during a short walk around the block. If you want to go somewhere without exposure to the elements, take your pet for a drive. Go places you know will welcome your pet, such as pet stores or Home Depot.

Our dog daycare is another excellent source of pet enrichment. Not only is it a great investment of time and money, your pet will also be tuckered out when you return home together. Snuggle time, here you come!

Don’t Forget the Basics

Pet enrichment can hinge on the establishment or reinforcement of basic training and/or obedience. Spend rainy days working on leash skills, basic commands, or even tricks. Remain positive, upbeat, and patient. Healthy treats go a long way towards positive training.

Cats benefit from climbing, hiding, and prowling. To that end, consider using some of the vertical space in your home to create catwalks tailored to their special interests. Window perches are also fantastic.

Adjust and Adapt

No matter what, if your pet has your attention and affection, even a rainy day or two won’t get them down. However, for the best in seasonal support, The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital recommend keeping up with pet enrichment as much as possible. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We’re always here for you and your pet!