(source: iheartdogs.com, article by Kristina Lotz)
Many of us have dogs that are pretty much indoor all the time unless we on a walk or at a dog park. And this is not a bad thing, our dogs love being with us 24/7. But that doesn’t mean your dog can’t become depressed if the bad weather keeps you in or frustrated if you haven’t hadn’t time for your runs lately. Or maybe you worry he isn’t getting enough sunshine or fresh air. These 15 tips will help your dog stay happy and healthy indoors.
#1 – Open the curtains
Dog’s like to see what’s going on outside, so as long as it doesn’t encourage reactive behavior, open those curtains or blinds. If it’s sunny outside, the incoming light can improve your dog’s mood and most dogs enjoy a nice sun spot to nap in.
#2 – Open the Windows
If it’s nice outside, open the windows so your dog can get some fresh air. This is only if you are home! Be sure you have pet-proof screens on your doors and windows.
#3 – Puzzle Games
These are a great way to pass time and stimulate your dog’s brain when you are not around to play with him. Kyjen makes a variety of these toys for any level of dog.
#4 – Supplements
Supplements added to your dog’s food can make sure he is getting all the nutrients he needs, especially things like vitamin D that he normally gets from the sunshine. Talk to your vet about what your dog should be taking.
#5 – Treadmill
A treadmill can be a great way to keep your dog in shape when you are unable to exercise him. Whether you’re sick, the weather is bad, or you just didn’t get to that run, your dog can exercise at home when it’s convenient.
#6 – One-on-One Time
Always make time for just you and your best bud. Whether that means snuggling on the couch, a brushing session (if your dog enjoys it), or a massage, giving your dog some “us time,” daily will definitely keep him happy.
#7 – Practice Training
Although it may seem boring, most dogs enjoy training because it gives them a job and they are getting to work with you. Taking even a few minutes a day to practice tricks, obedience, etc., will keep your dog’s mind sharp and will dispel boredom.
#8 – Rotation Feeding
Rotation proteins and mixing in wet food and fresh food items can help an indoor dog get all the required nutrients as well as keep his interest in his food. Talk to your vet about the type of diet your dog should be on for optimal health.
#9 – Air Purifier
Getting an air purifier can really help both you and your dog stay healthier, especially in the winter and spring, when we tend to keep the house “shut-up” against the outside weather.
#10 – Change of Scenery
Even in yucky weather, be sure your indoor dog gets out once in a while. Just like a pent-up person, your dog can go crazy if they never get out. Trips to the pet store or other dog-friendly places are good choices when the weather is bad.
#11 – Stimulate Senses
Dogs use their senses a lot when they are outside – they look at things, sniff things out, paw or dig at something interesting, and listen to sounds they don’t get to hear every day. You can enrich your indoor dog’s life by providing opportunities to use these senses – things like hide ‘n’ seek where they have to look for treats or find where a new sound is coming from, or giving your dog a toy he can paw (like an over-sized ball) — are all fun ways to stimulate your dog’s senses inside.
#12 – Create Space
Dogs are den animals and they do like to have their own space. Create an area in your house that is your “dog’s” area. Have a kennel with the door open so he can go in and out as he pleases, or a nice cozy bed. Don’t put it in the middle of all the “noise.” Put it somewhere your dog can go when he wants to sleep and not be disturbed.
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