Pets have an uncanny ability to turn our frown upside-down when we’re feeling blue. Even though pets can’t tell us when something is wrong, pet owners can be proactive about keeping their pets mentally healthy. You likely already know just what to do to keep your pet happy and healthy, but it’s important to be mindful in the winter months when routines often change due to weather and holiday schedules.
Training pets to sit, stay, or roll over isn’t just about humoring us humans. Practicing tricks keeps your cat or dog’s mind alert and active. For dogs, have them obey a command before they get a treat. For cats, make sure they have a scratching post and toys to “hunt.” Cats and dogs both benefit from new toys, games, and interaction with humans.
Spend some quality time with your pet. It might look like belly rubs and cuddling, or a winter hike. Training is also a great bonding experience.
Are you spending more time on the couch and less time on the trail? You may need to adjust your pet’s food intake if they’re exercising less. Alternately, if they’re getting more exercise in cooler temperatures, they may actually need more food. Check with your vet if you’re unsure what the proper portion size is for your pet’s weight and activity level.
That comfy, "hygge" feeling that gets us through the winter also goes a long way for our pets. Add an extra blanket to their favorite resting spot and keep their bed tidy. Cats and small dogs may also enjoy a heating pad to lay on.
Fresh air and sunlight are crucial to the health of humans and our pets. You don’t have to have long outings if the weather doesn’t allow for it. Hang out with your pet on your balcony for a few minutes, or take a short walk around your community. Cats and dogs also enjoy smelling new scents outside, which is mentally stimulating for them. For strictly indoor cats, give them a place by a window to take a catnap in the natural light.
Healthy Pets Are Happy Pets
When it comes down to it, keeping your pet happy isn’t much different from what we do as humans. Help them stay active, eat right, and show them lots of love.
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