By: Pamela Huyck
Certified Veterinary Technician at Pet Poison Helpline®
With the shorter winter days and cooler weather upon us, it can be a challenge to get our dogs enough exercise, or even any exercise at all. On those days where we just can’t get out for our daily run or romp at the dog park, we have to get creative to keep our pets from becoming bored. Try some of these ideas:
- Get a food cube or ball at the pet store. You place the dog’s food (or treats) in the cube/ball and the dog has to paw and nose the ball to get the food to fall out, a piece or two at a time.
- Check the pet store for other food-related toys. There are many different puzzle and chew toys that involve food. These toys not only keep dogs busy but also make them think.
- Put the dog’s food or some treats in a cardboard box (grab a clean food box from the recycle bin). Tape up the box. Place the first box in a slightly bigger box with some more food and tape that box up. Let your dog rip apart the box to get the food out.
- Place the dog’s food or some treats in an empty plastic bottle such as a water or pop bottle (remove the lid first). Your dog can have a great time chomping and throwing around the bottle to get the treats to fall out.
- Find a toy with some holes or nooks and crannies. Place treats in the holes and then hand it over to your dog.
- Teach your dog a new trick. There are many websites out there with fun tricks to teach dogs and there are many different training methods.
- Sign up for a class at your local dog training club. You and your dog will get out of the house, be able to socialize and get some exercise, and learn new things, all while staying warm and cozy indoors.
Don’t forget to supervise your dog when toys are out and if your dog is the type to eat pieces of toys, adjust the activities accordingly. Have fun!
Pamela has been a Certified Veterinary Technician for four years and has worked for Pet Poison Helpline® for two-and-a-half years. She grew up on a hobby farm where she raised and cared for cattle, horses, rabbits, assorted poultry, dogs, cats, sheep, and dairy goats (her favorite). She and her husband have a Collie named Kenna and a cat named Ivy. Unfortunately, they do not have any goats (yet).