Being cooped-up is reason enough to drive any Homo Sapien, Canis Lupus Familiaris and Felis Catus mad. Already feeling a little delirious? Then you probably need to read this article sooner rather than later, as winter is after all a whopping 3 months long! Chin up though; keeping yourself, your dog and your cat sane this chilly season is much easier than you might think.
☂ A DASH OF FRESH AIR
Is there anything grosser than stale air? I’m sluggish just thinking about it. Even though we are forced to crack down on outside time, that’s no excuse not to crack open a window. Fresh air will do everybody the world of good - it makes you happier, soothes the nerves, rids the body of impurities and strengthens the immune system.
Speaking of majestic fresh air, hop outdoors for 5 - 10 minutes with your pets for a run, a walk or simply to stretch those legs. A great time to do this would be around noon, as South African winters always spoil us with that ray of sunshine warmth during lunch (investing in a DOG JACKET is a stupendous idea for when heading outside and also highly recommended). Just pop outside for 600 seconds somewhere during the day or week, because your pets will thank you.
Okay, let’s get back indoors. Make inside time quality time by brushing your beloved fluffies glorious coats. It’s great for bonding and of course to rid them from unwanted loose hair, because winter is no reason to let self-respect fly out that freshly cracked window, am I right? Naturally ePETstore boasts a spectacular variety of pet brushes for DOGS and CATS.
If you’re brave enough to bath them, please remember to dry them properly, and then take those clean freshly brushed, freshly bathed bodies to the couch for snuggles and a movie! Why not throw in a doggy / kitty massage to help soothe and relax them - I mean, they’re totally worth the pamper.
☂ INTERACTIVE TOYS
An almost foolproof way to keep those spirits up, are interactive pet toys. Winter is synonymous with the sudden urge to stuff our faces. Rather stuff toys like the KONG / BIONIC BALL with your dog’s favourite treats OR peanut butter (xylitol-free) and let the fun commence. The INTERACTIVE FEEDER / TREAT SPINNER are great choices for frolicsome cats in the house to enjoy.
Keep those brains sharp and active by busting out some spectacular pet puzzles. You may need to own a variety of puzzles if your dog / cat is a fast learner. Stunning puzzle choices for dogs would include the HIDE A SQUIRREL / TREATER TOTTER and for cats, puzzles like the CHEESE CHASER / SENSES CIRCUIT are always well loved.
If binge-eating is a constant struggle though, rather stick to those calorie-free, yet satisfying interactive pet toys. The ever popular game of tug is still very much in style (as well as mentally and physically stimulating). Honourable interactive/tug dog toys mentions are PLUSH TOYS / TUG ROPE .Cats still take much delight in the forever high in demand VALERIAN HEART / FEATHER WANDS. These interactive pet toys are truly a fabulous way to keep them occupied for hours on end (and also ensure for a glorious long nap afterwards).
☂ PET GAMES
A game of fetch in the house with a plush toy or an old sock is always a treat (just watch the lamps). Another great game to give a go is the classic “which hand” game. This super fun activity puts your curious canine’s scenting ability to the test and all you need to get started is a dog treat. Simply place the treat into one of your hands, close your fists and place both closed-fists in front of your dog. Let your dog choose which hand they believe their reward to be in. If they choose the correct hand, give them the treat - oh how nobody has the time to NOT be rewarded for hard work. Don’t tease.
TIP: If your dog chooses incorrectly, remember it takes a few tries to catch on. Keep your enthusiasm at an all-time high so that they do not become discouraged. I recommend using a LOW CALORIE DOG TREAT, because stuffing their stomachs will probably take the fun out of everything, including life.
☂ INTERACTIVE FEEDERS
All jokes aside, if you do have a glutton on your hands, or pets who love stuffing their bellies with food, then interactive feeders are the way to go. These pet bowls lengthen dinner time (less time spent being bored), improve digestion and are most definitely a conversation starter (because they look so interesting!). Have a look at ePETstore’s colourful range of DOG and CAT slow feeders if you are not yet the proud owner of such a marvelous invention.
☂ DIY & DENTAL TREATS
If your pet is not on the verge of obesity, then you may treat them with some delectable winter delights. Have a look at ePETstore homemade recipes and spruce up your culinary skills, from Tuna Catnip Crunchies for Cats to Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies for dogs, you’ll leave the entire house jealous and wanting. I LOVE cooking during winter, and my cat loves basking in the kitchen joy (or she just comes to lick the spoon, who really knows).
After the feasting, remember clean teeth are awesome teeth, so when the munchies start calling, provide your pets with great tasting DOG and CAT dental treats as dessert to keep those pearly whites shining.
Put months of inside time to good use and teach them a trick or two. Have a look at this ARTICLE for some trick ideas that are in fact not so tricky and loads of fun. When summer time arrives, showing off those new taught skills at the park is a must.
☂ HYDRATION STATION
Perhaps not usually considered a fun activity, I understand. But do you know what is really NOT fun? Dehydration, that’s what. Make sure your pet does drink enough fresh water, all year round, since water is life.
☂ DOGGY PLAYDATE
Friends are everything, so arranging a doggy play date with a dog they cherish is a superb way to pass the time. I mean if we’re honest, them seeing ONLY our faces at home ALL THE TIME becomes tiring after a while. Refresh their mood, and revive their soul and social skills to keep the positive attitude going.
*If your cat loves to share their space, then by all means invite their friends over too.
Sanity aside, bored pets tend to become destructive pets, thus it truly is vital to keep them entertained and content all winter long. Percy Bysshe Shelley said “if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”, so take courage as this season of gloom too shall pass.