happy dog and owner

All pets need exercise and enrichment for their physical and behavioral well-being. These are the key ingredients to a vibrant, happy life for furry ones and are instrumental in maintaining a good weight and encouraging better behavior. Whether you’re out and about or stuck indoors, there are always great options for keeping your pet active.

Your friends at Animal Medical Hospital and 24 Hour Urgent Care are here to give you some of our best tips for indoor and outdoor play. Let’s have some fun!

Backyard Exercise for Pets

Even if you haven’t been traveling or going to your normal dog park, use your backyard and have some fun with your furry one. These favorite pastimes can get your pet moving and staying healthy after being indoors.

  1. Teach your pet to fetch – Not all dogs understand the concept of fetch, but working on those skills is a fun way to keep them active. Find some cool toys, frisbees, and balls and toss one at a time across the yard. Reward your pet with a tiny treat when they bring the items back to you successfully. 
  2. Set up an obstacle course You can purchase a readymade obstacle course for dogs (or cats) online, or make your own out of pipes, empty kiddie pools, boxes, tunnels, and so on. 
  3. Learn some tricks – Trick training is another good way to teach your dog skills while enjoying some activities together. Try some of the following: roll over, fetch something, dance, walk, and turn in circles. There are some much more advanced skills you can teach your pup pupil that can be a great bonding experience (and also great for videos!).
  4. Walk your cat – If your cat is missing out on the great outdoors, why not get them a harness and leash and try it out. Many cats like to investigate the backyard and the leash will keep them safe (and protect local birds). Try it out!
  5. Play hide-and-seek There are many dogs who enjoy a challenging game (with that special reward at the for a job well done). Hide some small toys and treats around the backyard and get them to use their nose to uncover the rewards. Start simple with more obvious places and advance to more complex places over time.

Of course, if all else falls, grab those sneakers and a leash and go for a nice, autumn walk. Walking is good for relieving pent up energy and stress, and gives you and your pet a chance to see others along the way.

Indoor Fun When You Can’t Get Outdoors

There are plenty of activity ideas for dogs and cats that can be safely adapted to the indoors. Clear some room in the den or living room, if you don’t already have a suitable basement or open area of the garage, making sure to remove anything that could break or injure your pet. 

Here are some of our favorite activities to get your pet moving.

  • Tug of war
  • Fetch using a Nerf ball or soft toy
  • Feather chase
  • Laser pointer
  • Doga (yoga with dogs)
  • Dog dancing videos
  • Additional training skills for dogs and, yes, for cats too
  • Brain challenging, treat dispensing puzzles
  • Walking up and down steps with your pet
  • Running on a treadmill together

Keeping Your Pet Active Is a Must

If you are still wondering how to get your pet moving or lose those extra pounds off of your fur friend (or you), give us a call. We can provide some additional tips on keeping your pet active through the winter and all year long. 

Enjoy!