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Pet-approved cures for cabin fever

It’s the inevitable winter conundrum: Your dog craves outdoor activity, but frigid temps rule out anything longer than strictly business. When hunkering down inside becomes a matter of your furry friend’s safety, resigning to boredom or unchecked energy isn’t the only option! Keep your pet happy — and entertained — with these made-for-indoors ideas.

Play hide and seek

Of the treat variety, that is. Rather than simply giving your dog or cat a snack, engage their minds by making them follow their nose to find the reward. Grab a few training-size treats or their favorite kibble (or catnip!) while they’re not looking and scatter around a room — or if you’re feeling creative, lay down a path for them to chase. Then sit back and wait for them to pick up the scent.

Give them a puzzle

A step up from the everyday plush or ball, thinker toys hide a world of surprises for your pet to uncover. With a plethora of options out there for every pet personality, you’ll find one sure to capture their attention. For the food gobblers, there are ones that dispense small treats if pawed or chewed just right, or of course, the classic Kong filled with peanut butter. And for the destroyers? Toys comprised of multiple elements for them to pull apart, like plush peas in a pod or squirrels in a tree trunk.

Go back to school

A training refresher is an easy way to kill time stuck inside — and will keep both of you happier in the long run. Occupying your pet’s mind with simple tasks helps them harness their energy, so let them show off what they know for a worthwhile cause (treats). Already brushed up on the basics? Start on a new trick or tackle one they never got quite right, especially if a days-long cold stretch is
coming on.

Carve out quality time

When a walk is out of the question, devote the chunk of time you’d spend outside together to indoor all-about-you activities instead, like petting or playing. Resist to urge to multitask — keeping your full attention on them is the best stand-in. Have a routine for when walk time is over? Cap off the cuddles in the same way! This gives your special time together a natural end, and maintains a
part of their day they love.

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