Snow-covered ground for the previous six weeks, bitterly cold temperatures, foggy days, and little sun – what a winter for the Treasure Valley! If you’re feeling a little cabin fever – your pet might as well.

Pent-up energy may result in destructive and negative behaviors. Restless or bored dogs may exhibit unusual vocalizing (barking, howling, whining), have indoor accidents, scratch at doors, and/or nibble furniture, carpet, or shoes. In today’s veterinary blog, in an effort to save your sofa and your sanity we a few ideas to help the whole household cope with cabin fever.

Get outdoors. The humans of the household get outside when travelling to work or school (or endlessly shoveling snow), while the pets may remain indoors for the entire day. If the weather allows, a short walk will release some of your dog’s energy.

Indoor Play. Interactive toys engage pets both mentally and physically. Consider the options available from your local pet store. Use your staircase for a game of fetch (with a hidden workout built in). Long hallways, an empty garage or basement, or other safe indoor areas will serve as a nice ‘plan B’ in place of winter walks. WestVet - dogs at play during winter - cabin feverA quick a game of tug or hide and seek can help her relieve some energy. Gently help senior dogs inclined to slumber through winter days and nights to stay active.

Plan for play. If your dog has a furry friend, an indoor play date could be a great way to release some energy. In addition, numerous dog day camps in the Treasure Valley offer a place for indoor exercise and socializing with other dogs.

Don’t forget your cat. Our feline friends accustomed to being both indoors and outdoors during milder weather may also become restless and bored. Feline Friends with Cabin Fever during Idaho WinterSchedule a little extra play time with a favorite toy to keep them entertained.

It feels like our sunny spring days are a long way off. If you find the “Winter Blues” sneaking up on your household, make some time for play. Your pets will thank you—and you’ll end up feeling a little brighter and lighter yourself.

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