Nov 25 2020

Winter Enrichment

It’s that time of year where we can see our breath outside and the winter chill pushes us indoors. Don’t let this change in weather limit your animals’ learning, energy release, and fun! By getting a little creative we can keep our pets mentally engaged. Check out these enrichment ideas for dogs and cats!

DOGS

Nose work interests most dogs because there is the promise of a yummy reward! Pick your dog’s favorite treat and something to hide it in which requires your dog to think. We love using dog puzzles and crinkle mats!

A treat hunt is also a fun way to get your dog moving. While your dog is outside or distracted hide treats throughout the home and encourage your pet to search for them. Using small treats to lead to a grand ultimate reward such as your dog’s favorite toy or high-value bone is a great way to start the hunt. Be sure to use lots of praise when they find a treat! 

Treat rolls make for a great DIY puzzle! Collect toilet paper rolls and stuff it with treats, peanut butter, tuna, etc. and fold the edges to seal it. Your dog (and cat!) will have to figure out how to open the roll to get the goodness within. If this is too easy for your brilliant companion Kongs are great for freezing peanut butter or tuna in so that they have to work at it a little more.

CATS

Cats are easily visually stimulated! There are free apps just for cats and Youtube channels dedicated to engaging them. If your cat is old school and prefers enrichment without screens try these ideas:

Cat puzzles! There are several treat puzzles/mazes that you can purchase online for your feline that will keep their brains busy. If your cat is anything like mine, he prefers the boxes that toys come in versus the toy itself. Boxes and paper bags make for a great DIY cat puzzle! Cut out holes (big enough for your cats arms to reach inside) throughout the box and place toys and treats inside so that your cat has to go fishing for them. Paper bags can also be cat heaven, especially with some catnip inside. 

Laser pointers have stumped our cats for years! The mysterious red dot comes and goes with no apparent pattern or reason and most cats love to hunt/chase it. You can’t go wrong with this classic! If you want to be able to fully focus on finding your winter chill try automated laser pointers.

What are your pet’s favorite indoor activities during the winter months? Please share in the comments!

Written by: Tara Cleveland


Dec 20 2012

Let It Snow! Keeping Your Pets Safe This Winter

Winter is definitely upon us! Not only is it time for humans to dig out their cold weather clothes, it’s also time to think about keeping our pets safe during these arctic cold days. Here are some tips to keeping your pets safe.

1. Keep your pets inside. Limit your pets outside time for bathroom breaks when temperatures start to tumble. If its too cold for you, it’s defintely too cold for your pet. If your pet is normally outside, move them to a sheltered garage or heated dog house, away from the wind.

2. Outdoor cats have been known to find refuge underneath the hoods of cars. When the car is started, the cat could become injured or even killed by moving parts of the engine. If you have an outdoor cat, honk the horn before starting the car to give the cat a chance to escape.

3. Keep your dog on a leash in the winter weather. Pets can lose their scent in the snow and ice and find refuge in unfamiliar places. This is also a good opportunity to check your dog or cats id tag to make sure they have the most current contact information in case your pet becomes lost or stolen. We also recommend mircrochipping your pet. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other time of the year.

4. When getting your pet groomed, don’t have them shaved down to the skin. A longer coat provides more warmth. Bathing your dog? Be sure to completely dry them before taking them out for a walk. For short-haired breeds, put them in a warm sweater with a high collar that gives the pet coverage from the base of their tail to the belly. My toy poodle Lucy loves to wear her jacket and waits for me to put it on her before going outside.

5. Make sure to keep a dry towel near the door when you bring in your dogs from being outside. Thoroughly dry their paws, legs and belly. They can pick up bits of salt, antifreeze and other lethal chemicals from being outside. It can also be painful for the animal to have shards of ice in their fur. A dogs paws can actually bleed from encrusted ice. This is also a good opportunity to give them some extra love and praise them for good outdoor behavior.

6. Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle. The vehicle can act as a refridgerator, keeping the cold inside and causing your pet to freeze to death.

7. If your pet spends a lot of time playing outside, increase his food supply. Make sure to include extra protein to help keep his fur in great shape.

8. Coolant and antifreeze are lethal for cats and dogs. If you have any spills in your garage or driveway make sure to clean them thoroughly. Stay away from product s that use ethylene glycol. If your pet should ingest any of these products, call your veterinarian immediately.

9. Rock salt is also dangerous for pets. “Safe Paw” is pet safe ice melt is available for sale at Wayside Waifs and is safe for pets.

10. Give your pet a warm place to sleep. Make sure beds are located away from doors and drafts. Warm blankets or a large pillow is great.

Written by Trish Stinger
Web & Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs


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