Montclair, NJ – During the long winter months that are known to be dark and cold, especially in the North Eastern United States, cabin fever can be common in humans. However, pet owners also can see a change in the behavior of their pets. Unlike humans where we can find a number of distractions to help us cope, animals have to just wait out the long winter until they can freely run outdoors again. Unfortunately, being patient is not something all animals share and this can to cause some unusually moody behavior.
“My cats are driving me crazy,” confessed Laura, a Bloomfield pet owner. “They’re usually great pals but lately they’ve been bickering. They’ll just go over and smack each other for no reason!” Her dog Luccia, an energetic Viszla, is even more stir-crazy than the cats. “She’s been getting into everything—including staging stealth attacks on the pantry,” she huffs.
Pets that exhibit lots of energy can be hardest hit. It can be exceedingly difficult for owners to even get their pets outdoors between the ice and snow. With this winter’s numerous storms and brutal cold, these pets are not getting nearly the exercise they need.
So what can pet owners do?
- Take advantage of the best winter has to offer. In other words, if the weather is good go outside and really exercise. If the weather is not so good, go out back and have a catch.
- If outdoor activity is not possible, then have a catch indoors. Try to get your pet’s heart rate up even if you only play for a short period of time, say 15 minutes.
- If you own a cat, you try using a cardboard box to amuse your pet or other more structured pieces that give your cat the ability to scratch, climb, hide and balance.
- If you have thought about getting your pet into a class that teaches them obedience or to learn new tricks, then this may be a good time to do so.
- Take your pet for ride in your car when you are doing errands. Even barking at the person walking on the sidewalk can be an exciting experience for a dog. Just be sure not to leave them for in your car while running errands, the temperature can drop pretty fast.
- Try hiding you dogs favorite toy and letting him find it. Or try a toy that has a motor in it to excite your cat so they can chase it all over the house.
This winter, make sure to include your pet in some activity that will stimulate them both mentally and physically. One of the best ways to show your pet that you care is to include them in your activities as well. It’s a long winter for everyone, so don’t forget that your pets can get cabin fever just like we do.