reddogWith the bitter cold and snow this winter, chances are that you and your dog have been spending an inordinate amount of time indoors. And, while sometimes it can be nice to curl up in front of the fire with a good book, you and your dog may be starting to go a little stir crazy.

However, with a little creativity spending time indoors can be fun, too. Here are a few ideas for keeping your pet active and your sanity in tact.

Play Hide-and-Seek

Many dogs love a spirited game of hide-and-seek. You can hide a favorite toy, a special treat, or even yourself and encourage your pet to find the prize. Once your pet gets the hang of it, you will find that he or she will search things out with enthusiasm. Encourage pets to use their nose to sniff out treats under a towel or figure out which bowl his bone is under.

Hit the Great Indoors

There are lots of places to go that don’t involve being outside (well, other than to walk to your vehicle). Head to a local pet-friendly bakery, an indoor bark park, a pet store, or even to a friend’s house. Or take a trip to your vet’s office just to say hello. Lots of indoor places can be pet-friendly, and some pets may just enjoy the car ride.

Learn a New Trick

Even old dogs can learn new things. Does your pet have a solid understanding on the basic commands like sit, stay, and down? If so, move on and teach your pet a fun new trick like how to ring a bell or play dead. Check out a book from the library with suggestions or find a website with lots of new trick suggestions. With a little practice, you pet will be the life of the party in no time.

Pamper Your Pooch

Maybe your pet needs a bath, a good brushing, or a nail trim. Gather your supplies and have a puppy spa day. Dogs even enjoy a good massage, especially when it’s cold.

Invest in a New Toy

A carefully chosen toy can provide hours of entertainment. Look for interactive treat-dispensing puzzles and balls to ensure lots of fun. A laser pointer can be exciting for some dogs as well, and are always a hit with cats.

Plan a Puppy Play Date

If your pet gets along well with others, call a friend who also has a dog and arrange a get-together. Many pets love to interact with others, indoors or out.

Hopefully spring is right around the corner, but even if winter drags on a little longer than we’d like, you and your pet will have plenty to do while you’re stuck indoors!