If you live in an area that experiences harsh winters, you might need to keep your cats and dogs inside more often to ensure their safety. In doing so, you might have noticed that your pets are more restless than usual because they want to go outside and don’t understand why they can’t. Winter weather can cause cabin fever in pets, so if you notice that your animal is stressed, you’re likely dealing with a very common issue.
Read on to learn about how weather affects your pet’s mood and what you can do to prevent cabin fever in pets.
Your Pet’s Mood & the Weather
Much like being cooped up indoors can leave a person feeling restless, being stuck inside can also affect a dog or cat. If your pets are used to being outside during the warmer months, spending winter in the house can make it hard for them to burn off excess energy. They may become stressed, irritable, and overly vocal when they want to play outside.
Additionally, cold-intolerant breeds might experience spikes in joint discomfort, Cushing’s Disease complications, or hypothyroidism flare-ups. Because they’re not feeling their best physically, you might notice symptoms of dog depression or depression in cats.
Mental & Physical Activity Tips
If you notice that your dog or cat seems irritable during the colder months of the year, it might be because they’re stuck inside more often than they are throughout the rest of the year. Fortunately, there are several mental and physical exercises you can practice indoors with your pets to keep them active and engaged. And even when it’s colder than usual, make sure you take your dog out for walks still, if it is safe to do so. If you have a small dog, senior dog, or a dog with a short coat, make sure you put on a coat and protect their paws using booties or balm.
- Play “rolling fetch” with your pet (roll a ball or toy indoors rather than throwing it)
- Toss pieces of pet food in different directions around the room for your pet to race around to catch
- Teach your pet a new trick
- Set up a makeshift agility course at home
- Play tug of war
- Take your dog out to dog-friendly stores (like pet food stores) on occasion