The Trupanion blog
5 Inside Dog Activities Every Pet Parent Should Know
By: Kelli Rascoe & Trupanion Staff
All dogs need regular, daily exercise. And in most cases, pet parents achieve this by taking their pal on walks and trip to the local park. But what do you do in the event of bad weather or in other situations where heading outdoors for long periods of time may be unsafe? Instead of just waiting things out and having your canine forfeit their much-needed exercise, there are several activities you can do indoors with dogs that’ll keep them active and engaged.
5 activities to do indoors with dogs
Too cold or rainy outside to go out and play? Not feeling so well yourself? Read on to learn some easy indoor dog activities that can help keep your pet entertained and happy in the comfort of your own home.
1. Indoor fetch
Games of fetch don’t need to be limited to balls and sticks in the yard. Try rolling balls in different directions around the house instead of throwing them in the air, or tossing your pup’s favorite soft toy across the room. Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your pet has plenty of space to run wherever you decided to play this game.
2. Scavenger hunt
To engage your pet’s senses while helping her get exercise, consider setting up a DIY dog scavenger hunt. This interactive activity works well with dogs of all ages and doesn’t take long to put together. Here are some easy instructions:
- Grab things your dog can easily sift through, like a couple magazines or newspapers, plastic cups, a blanket, pieces of cardboard, cardboard boxes, or even a snuffle mat.
- Set these items up in different areas around the house, out in the open where your dog can find them.
- Grab a small handful of healthy treats or dry dog food and tuck pieces in and around each pile of items.
- Time to go! Start by leading your dog to the first pile and helping him find the first treat. Then, excitedly cheer him on as he hunts for more (tip: some dogs may need more help being led around than others).
Watch an example of a DIY dog scavenger hunt in action for some more inspiration!
3. Doggy puzzle toys
Puzzle feeders and toys that hide treats (like a Kong) are a great way for dogs to burn energy and engage their minds while in pursuit of a tasty reward. To really give your pup a challenge, try combining these toys with your indoor scavenger hunt.
4. Dog agility course
Many dogs love to jump and work their way around obstacles. So, why not set up your pet’s very own indoor agility course at home? You can always purchase canine agility equipment, but there are also some simple ways to set up a DIY dog agility course using things you already have.
It doesn’t have to be complicated — carve a path through your living room using pillows and couch cushions, blankets, and other safe objects. If your dog is a jumper, create low hurdles for them to navigate over. Use items like ropes, balls, and squeaky toys to keep the path engaging. A treat-filled Kong may also be a fun way to end the game.
If your pet has never done agility before, always talk with your veterinarian before getting started. They’ll be able to advice what kinds of movement are best for your pal’s specific breed and health needs.
5. Hide and seek
You never know when a fun game of hide and seek may involve the whole family! When it comes to your pup, it’s an opportunity to work on basic dog training commands.
Start by telling your dog to sit, stay, and wait, and slowly back away. If they move, make them repeat the commands. When you get to a point where you can back away across the room, try exiting the room and “hiding.” Then, call your pup loudly and have them come find you! Be sure to reward your good boy with lots of praise and treats when they are successful.
Note that if your dog is unable to sit and wait on their own at this time, having another family member or friend present to wait with them may help.
Keep dogs active all year, inside and outside
Regular exercise and engagement is crucial to a dog’s wellbeing. Especially in the winter months, it’s important to not use bad weather as an excuse to avoid making sure your pet gets the activity she needs. Along with indoor dog activities providing mental and physical stimulation, they’re an excellent opportunity for more bonding time with your pet.
While you’re looking for ways to keep your dog healthy throughout the year, learn how dog insurance can help.
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While you’re browsing our pet blog, please note that the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Trupanion. Our articles are reviewed by veterinarians for accuracy, but they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Always consult with your own pet’s veterinarian for advice.