Cordova_iStock_000021420809_MediumThere’s something about shorter days and cooler temps that make all of us a less than enthusiastic fitness buff. Despite knowing the importance of being active, a brisk morning dog walk seems unlikely when the sun has yet to peek over the horizon.

There are also times when freezing rain and low temperatures can actually be harmful to our fur friends. So the question is, how do you keep your pet both active and safe?

10 Ways to Keep Your Pet Active When it’s Cold Out

Winter is a great time to take a look at your pet’s exercise routine. Since there will undoubtedly be inclement weather, coming up with new, creative ways to play (especially indoors) can add energy to a boring exercise routine.

  1. Create an indoor obstacle course. Grab some pillows and empty boxes (or anything!) to set up the ultimate pet playground. This is also a great way to mentally challenge an easily bored working breed.
  2. Start a doggy (or kitty) play group. There’s no sense moping around, looking out the window on a rainy day. Instead, get your fur friend’s best pals together once a week for a day of supervised playtime.
  3. Test out some new toys. Are you ready to purge all those old toys your pet has long since destroyed? Why not try out some new interactive games or products, such as the Buster Food Cube or Cheese Automatic Cat Toy.
  4. Play a game of indoor fetch. Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an energy-burning game of fetch. Simply move the furniture against the wall (stash away breakables) and toss around a soft toy or Nerf ball.
  5. Use mealtime as an excuse for hide-and-seek. Instead of feeding your pet his entire meal at once, engage his or her curiosity by hiding small portions behind a chair or any place your pet can safely navigate. An added perk is that it will keep him or her from eating too quickly.
  6. Sign your pet up for daycare. If you’re a busy pet parent, doggy daycare is an awesome option for exercise, attention, and socialization.
  7. Drive to a park and go for a quick run. One way to get a bit of fresh air is to bundle up you and your pet and drive to a favorite spot for a quick walk or jog.
  8. Adopt another pet pal. If your pet is an only child who’s feeling a bit lonely, adopting another pet might be a good option. Just make sure your pet has been socialized and generally plays well with others (or ask us for tips on having a stress-free adoption).
  9. Teach your dog some new tricks. Like people, dogs get bored when not exposed to new sights, sounds, and challenges. For the clever canine, attempt a few new tricks like “roll over,” “bow,” and “dance.”
  10. Enjoy some silly fun. Don’t forget, sometimes just a snuggle, a gentle wrestle, or a moment of humor goes a long way to keeping your pet active and confident. After all, it’s love that goes the greatest distance.

Now, go have some wintery good times!