My dogs are getting antsy now that winter is here. It's dark and cold outside, so our doggie playdates have been put on hold until Spring. I take my pups outside for walks, but I'm afraid that's not enough to keep them from going stir crazy. Any ideas for cold-weather pet fun to keep my dogs from getting bored in winter?
- Angela in Memphis, Tennessee
Keeping a dog from getting bored during the winter is no small feat. Cold weather can dampen your spirits for going outside, and those early sunsets make a night of Netflix on the couch really appealing.
Luckily, we've come up with five ideas to keep your dogs from going stir crazy until the Spring thaw arrives.
1. "Play Games, All Sorts"
That's more than just a line from Mary Poppins…games are a good way to entertain dogs during the cold, dark days of winter. A rousing round of hide-and-seek or fetch is sure to cure those doggy doldrums. Bonus: It's a chance to practice training your pooch to sit and stay.
2. Visit a Dog Park
Even when it's cold and gray outside, your dogs can enjoy a playful run at the dog park. While some dog parks close after dark, others remain open in the evening. Your dogs can still enjoy some outdoor play, no matter how much daylight we get.
3. Tricky Treats
Those treat-dispensing dog toys are a great way to keep your dog entertained for hours winter, spring, summer or fall. Simply insert your pup's favorite treat or dry food into the treat ball and watch as your furry friends try to solve the puzzle. You can find these at most neighborhood pet stores or online.
4. Hire a Dog Walker
Pets need love and exercise all year, regardless of the weather. If your work schedule keeps you away from the house for long periods of time, hire a dog walker to help your pets get exercise and TLC during the day. They'll love the attention, and you'll feel better knowing they're getting some playtime while you're at work. Just remember to show them a little love when you get home!
5. Schedule an Indoor Puppy Play Date
Okay, hear us out on this one. While the idea of a gaggle of dogs in your house may sound like a carpet-cleaning bill waiting to happen, inviting your doggie friends over gives your pups a chance to socialize and gives you an excuse for a game night with friends. What's not to love about that?