pet wellnessAs the days grow colder, it’s sometimes hard to motivate ourselves to get out of bed, much less grab the leash for a quick walk. Many times, our dogs are also more than happy to sleep in, but coming up with ways to keep your pet active is essential to good health and wellness.

The Urge to Overfeed

While a lack of exercise isn’t good for anyone (pets included), when paired with a tendency to overeat, our waistlines better watch out! From savory dishes to sweet treats, the holidays keep us stuffed from all the office parties and family gatherings. And as we tend to eat more, so do our pets.

The problem is that a few extra pounds on a 10-30 pound animal is a significant percentage increase in weight. As we all know, losing weight is hard and while a plump pet can be cute, being overweight brings serious health issues. From diabetes to high blood pressure, obese pets have an increased risk for many diseases and often lead shorter lives.

To keep your pet at a healthy weight, we recommend making a wellness appointment during the winter. If your pet struggles with obesity, our team can also help formulate the correct diet and exercise plan to lose those dangerous extra pounds.

Games to Keep Your Pet Active

One of the best ways to keep your pet healthy this winter is through exercise and challenging activities.

Yes, we get it – being outside can be both miserable and potentially hazardous when snow or sleet arrives. However, the good news is that there are many energy and calorie burning games you can play indoors.

Here are a few of our favorite winter activities to keep boredom and weight gain at bay:

  • Hide-and-seek
  • Indoor fetch using a nerf ball or similar soft toy
  • Tug-of-war
  • Walking up and down steps
  • Food-based puzzles – also a great way to reduce overeating or eating too fast
  • Kong chew toy filled with frozen mashed banana or peanut butter
  • Indoor obstacle course using DIY items (like crawl tubes and mazes) or purchase a set online
  • Teach your dog new tricks – especially fun for working or sporting breeds who need extra stimulation and challenge
  • Feather toys and other games that require pouncing and leaping are perfect for cats
  • Doggie play dates combine exercise with needed socialization

We understand how winter can leave a pet owner feeling less than enthused about those daily walks. However, there are many creative indoor options to choose from when the weather is at its worst.

From all of us at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, we encourage you to keep your pet moving and resist the temptation to overfeed. We hope you enjoy our suggestions for energy burning games with your best fur pal!