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Warm up your pets' winter with fun indoor activities that provide exercise

Michelle Martin,
for Premier Pet Supply
Just as humans need exercise in the winter, so do our pets. And thankfully, there are plenty of activities to keep them busy inside this winter.

The cold winter months not only keep us indoors –– they keep our pets inside, too. Icy sidewalks, below-freezing temperatures and chest-high snowdrifts can make even the most active pets turn into couch potatoes. 

But just as humans need exercise in the winter, so do our pets. And thankfully, there are plenty of activities to keep them busy inside this winter.

Here are some tips to help your dog and cat stay active during the winter months.

Play fetch and chase

Almost every dog likes to play fetch –– and thankfully, it can be played in the house. Throwing the ball and watching your dog chase after it not only provides much-needed exercise but also helps to cure a case of the winter blues.

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For indoor games of fetch, it's best to choose a soft, plush ball to avoid breaking anything in the house. Dogs enjoy playing fetch with the HuggleHounds HuggleFleece dog toy, available at Premier Pet Supply. The Fluff & Tuff Soccer Ball dog toy, which comes in a cool mint color, is another excellent option. 

For cats, use a laser toy to encourage them to chase and pounce. The PetSafe Laser Tail laser cat toy is a good one to try.

Schedule a play date

During the winter months, dogs miss seeing their canine friends –– whether it's while they're on a walk or at the dog park. Scheduling an indoor play date with one or more dogs can give your dog the socialization –– and exercise –– he needs. 

Likewise, cats can benefit from playdates. This is especially important for kittens, who are still learning new habits and getting to know the world –– and getting to know other pets. 

When hosting a play date for dogs, be sure to provide plenty of water. If the dogs are spending time outside, opt for a bowl that prevents the water from freezing, such as a K&H Pet Products Thermal-Bowl heated pet bowl.

Create an obstacle course

Keep pets busy by building an indoor obstacle course with tunnels and things to jump over. You already have many of these items at home. 

Put together a few chairs to encourage your dog or cat to crawl under and through them. Pile a few pillows for them to jump over.

To add a new activity to the obstacle course, try the Puller Micro dog fitness tool. The purple rings can be used for anything from running, jumping and pulling — and it's a great way to end the obstacle course.

When your pets finish the obstacle course, be sure to reward them with a treat, such as Icelandic+ Mini Shrimp dog treats or Temptations Tempting tuna flavor cat treats.

Play hide and seek

Let your pet burn off some energy by walking around the house looking for you. To make the game of hide and seek even more fun, be sure to have some treats. Two to try: Spot Farms Chicken Nuggets dog treats or Blue Buffalo Bursts with Paw-Lickin' Chicken cat treats

To play, hide somewhere nearby and call out your pet's name –– and be sure to let him know that you have a treat. When he finds you, celebrate with praise, treats and a big hug. 

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Kongs and puzzle games

Toys and games that can keep pets busy are a great way to relieve winter boredom and help to exercise your pet's mind.

For dogs, try a puzzle game, such as the Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble or ZippyPaws SmartyPaws Puzzler. Kongs, which can be filled with treats, can keep your canine companion occupied. For cats, the Kong Active Maze Craze is a fun option. 

Teach a new trick 

The winter months are the perfect time to master new tricks and training. In addition to teaching tried-and-true tricks such as roll over and bark on command, you also can work on your leash training or even break some bad habits.

Practice leash training by walking with your dog around the house. This will help your dog practice his leash skills and get some exercise. Use a lightweight nylon leash such as the Coastal Nylon dog leash. Cats also can benefit from leash training. For cats, try the PetSafe Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee cat leash.

For dogs and cats, this indoor time can also provide an opportunity to practice clicker training. The Starmark Pro-Training clicker dog training aid, available at Premier Pet Supply, is an affordable, easy-to-use indoor option.

For more ideas to keep your pets active during the winter months, visit

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