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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

5 ways to keep your pet enriched during cold weather

Jan 03, 2024 11:11AM ● By Jenna Kretschman

This time of year, you can find me huddled indoors, keeping busy with my “indoor hobbies” like baking or crafts, and counting the days until springtime arrives once again. While we keep ourselves entertained indoors, it’s important to remember that our pets still require enrichment, too! When sidewalks are icy and the sun sets at 5 p.m., it can be tough to get out for dog walks as often as we do in the summertime. Here are a few fun, enriching indoor activities you can share with your pet this winter.

Ditch the Bowl

Use Ditch the Bowl training methods to keep your dog entertained. An easy way to do this is feeding your pet’s meal in a snuffle mat or other puzzle feeder. A snuffle mat is a pad of felt strips that you can hide kibble or treats in for a dog or cat to find, which you can easily make at home with a plastic bath mat and felt blanket. Snuffle mats and puzzle feeders are mentally stimulating, slow down your pet’s eating and let them express their foraging instincts.

Learn New Tricks

What better way to bond with your pet than to learn new tricks together? Even cats can learn tricks such as high-five or spin! Now is a great time to help your pet master their basic obedience skills like sit, down, stay and recall—or learn a fun one like bringing you the TV remote! 

Rotate Toys

Break out those new toys from Santa Paws and add some novelty to your pet’s winter! Here’s a tip to keep toys novel without breaking the bank: keep your pet’s stash of toys out of reach, and rotate through a few different toys each week. By the time you re-introduce an old favorite, it’ll be just as exciting as if it were brand new! 

Go to the Pet Store

When you’re not up for a chilly walk outside, head to a pet store like Chow Down, J&M Aquatics, PetCo or PetSmart for a fun outing full of new sights, smells and friends. Some home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot are also pet-friendly and large enough to get a decent-sized walk in! 

Quality Time

Lastly, simply spending time together is probably one of your pet’s favorite activities. Snuggle up on the couch, groom their fur, play with toys and include them in your daily activities as much as possible. Time spent with our beloved pets is finite, so make it count and enjoy your furry friend’s precious companionship.

If you don’t have a pet to spend the winter with, visit Roice-Hurst Humane Society to meet your match! Stop by our shelter at 362 28 Road in Grand Junction or our Delta Satellite Facility at 720 W. 4th St. in Delta.