5 Ways to Ease Canine Cabin Fever
The short winter days and cold winter weather mean most of us – including the family pet – have fewer opportunities for outdoor exercise and
play. That can be a problem for energetic breeds that require lots of active play and for dogs accustomed to spending lots of time outdoors.
Signs of “canine cabin fever” can range from unusual barking or howling, to scratching at the back door, to chewing furniture or messing in
the house. These problems occur because your dog is frustrated at being trapped indoors all day – especially if the rest of the family is away
at work and school.
Share the following tips with your customers to save them from a rambunctious furry friend in the coming cold months!
1. Take a walk. The best thing for both you and your pet is to bundle up and brave the cold. As long as the sidewalks and roads aren’t blocked with ice and snow, a daily walk or run together will help your pet dissipate excess energy – and keep you fit. Even bringing the dog along when you walk the children to the school bus can help. Of course, it’s important to be sure that you take appropriate precautions if your daily excursion is in the winter dark.
2. Play outside. Bundle up and put a jacket on your coat and go outside and play on a nice day! Until the cold becomes too much to bear, play fetch with your pup to release some energy. Just be sure to clean your dog’s paws thoroughly to remove any salt or sand that can cause irritation.
3. Stuff a Kong. Can’t get out of the house? Give your pet an interactive toy to keep him occupied. Stuff a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or another favorite treat. Working to get that hidden treat will give him both physical and mental stimulation while you’re gone.
4. Take a class. Sign up for an indoor training class with your dog. Even if it’s only once a week, it’s an opportunity for you and your dog to get out and be active together – plus you’ll have “homework” to practice during the week, something that your pet is sure to enjoy. Try something new – like agility – that will challenge both of you.
5. Send your dog to camp. A great alternative to lonely days at home alone is doggy day camp, day care or play group. Dogs exercise and socialize with other dogs in a safe, supervised environment. Dogs can benefit significantly by participating just once or twice each week. In addition to giving them exercise, these programs actually improve social skills while diminishing negative behaviors at home.
Planning a road trip? Traveling with a pet involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off-especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. The ASPCA offers the following tips to help you prepare for a safe and smooth car trip:
1. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. Make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Don’t forget, it’s smart to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.
2. Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. And always be sure to always secure the crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.
3. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Don’t feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle-even if it is a long drive.
4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
5. What in your pet’s traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
6. Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear flat (never choke!) collars, please.
7. Don't allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. He could be injured by flying objects. And please keep him in the back seat in his crate or with a harness attached to a seat buckle.
8. Traveling across state lines? Bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states requires this proof at certain interstate crossings. While this generally isn’t a problem, it’s always smart to be on the safe side.
9. When it comes to H2O, we say BYO. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area he’s not used to could result in tummy upset for your pet.
10. If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers, available at auto product retailers.