Your pets love it when you stay home. Whether it is a work-from-home situation, weekend, or day off, dogs appreciate spending every second with the person they adore. Of course, they also love getting outside to throw a frisbee in the park or take a long walk.
But sometimes circumstances prevent you from going outside as much. Perhaps it’s been snowing or raining heavily for days, and the outdoor conditions are a mess? Maybe you’ve got an overwhelming amount of work to accomplish and simply can’t find the time.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to keep your pets happy and healthy when you can’t get out as much. Proper diet and exercise top the list, but some of the insights and suggestions might surprise you. Here we’ll explore various tips on how to keep healthy pets while indoors.
A Healthy Diet Makes a Happy Dog
The first and most crucial element to ensuring your pets’ health, vitality, and well-being throughout their lifetime is committing to a proper diet with quality dog food.
That is even more essential if your pet is confined indoors for long periods. Junky food with too many fillers paired with a lack of mobility can cause an animal’s energy and stamina to plummet.
Prolonged exposure to the wrong diet over time could cause other health issues, digestive problems, and reduce your beloved pal’s longevity.
Here are some of the best and healthiest dog foods for all kinds of canines. Of course, not all dogs are alike so what works for one pet may not for another. Consult your veterinarian to be sure what is best suited for your pooch.
Best Food for Dogs With Allergies or Dietary Restrictions
Over the past few decades, it has become increasingly clear that certain foods, even items that have an abundance of health benefits, are difficult for some folks to digest and can cause a lot of discomforts and chronic concerns. Dogs can have similar sensitivities and intolerances.
If your veterinarian has recommended a potato-free diet, Merrick Classic Healthy Grain Dry Dog Food with lamb and brown rice is an excellent option.
Perhaps you’re avoiding peas? Peas are common ingredients in dog food but can lead to heart problems. The perfect pea-free choice is Nutro Ultra dry food for adult dogs that contains real protein from chicken, lamb, and salmon.
Yeast can be another culprit that causes pets tummy trouble. But because the ingredient is such a ubiquitous filler, it can be tough to find dry dog food without it. Canidae All Life Stages provides delicious multi-protein nutrition without yeast.
Indoor Exercises & Activities
Animals are a lot like humans when it comes to fitness and health. We are made to move, and our canine companions have trotting alongside us since the caveman days.
But modern men and women aren’t nomadic and are more likely to be stuck at a desk than walking for miles each day. Both you and your dog risk becoming permanent couch potatoes if you don’t get moving.
American Kennel Club’s exercise recommendations vary with the breed, age, and health condition of your pet.
Older dogs may require less activity but should still have daily movement; puppies need to expel quick bursts of energy. These are called “zoomies.” You may have noticed a zoomie attack when your pup suddenly races around the room then collapses from exhaustion.
Fortunately, there are simple indoor exercise activities for you and your pet to get physical activity without leaving your home.
Take the Stairs
If you are an urban dweller who lives in a small apartment, it is easy to understand how a pet, especially a larger one, might feel cramped indoors. One creative solution is to take advantage of your surroundings and do a few laps up and down the stairs.
Just be sure that they don’t strain too hard. Start slowly and notice the dog’s energy levels. Also, keep in mind that stairs might be extra challenging for certain breeds with short legs. That doesn’t mean they can utilize the stairs for indoor exercise. Just be mindful of their limitations.
Chase Around the Couch
While playing fetch could prove disastrous indoors (the frisbee is more likely to connect with an antique vase than your pet’s mouth), a quick chase around the couch is an excellent option for fast exercise and bonding.
Playing a game of chase indoors is the perfect way to get a puppy’s zoomies out and offer them some attention between your other priorities and give you both a break. After a rigorous chase, your puppy or small dog will wear out their energy and might even take a nap.
Do note that chasing games are best for smaller pets unless you have a lot of space. A full-grown Labrador or Golden Retriever will probably take down that vase with their tail!
Train on a Treadmill
It might seem strange at first, but training on a treadmill is perfect for larger high-energy breeds. After all, treadmills mimic walking or running, and the speed is adjustable. Just keep it slow to start and be sure that the machine isn’t on an incline.
Treadmill training isn’t only good for bad weather days. It also helps your pet build endurance and keep in good shape for outdoor sports like hiking, long runs, or marathons. So if you plan on having your pet join you in such activities, you might want to consider having them train alongside you.
If your pet is in training, being stuck indoors can feel stifling to their progress, stimulation, and agility as much as their fitness. That’s where a little bit of creativity can go a long way. Just as you might use a couple of food cans or bottles in place of weights, think of the household items that could transform into the elements of a home obstacle course.
Similar to swapping a game of frisbee or fetch for a quick chase around the couch, as long as you’re aware of the breakable items in your home, playing tug can stimulate your dog physically and mentally. Engaging in such an activity might also curb their desire to go for your shoes or furniture. West Paw Zogoflex Bumi Tug-o-War is an ideal tool for tug play.
Chew on This
There will be times when you can’t give your pet the attention they crave while indoors. Maybe you’ve got an important meeting or have to get some housework done.
Idle paws are the devil’s workshop, and a pet who is bored and stuck indoors could get into all sorts of trouble. According to the ASPCA, destructive chewing can be problematic for pets and humans. But fear not, one of the best ways to keep a dog happy is to keep them occupied.
All dogs love to chew and, depending on the breed, some need to gnaw constantly. Chew toys keep them stimulated and are proven to reduce anxiety.
The best chew toy for your dog will vary based on the breed, size, and personal preference. Some chew toys do double duty as a toothbrush, like the Nylabone Durable Dental Dinosaur Chew Toy. But for owners of Pit Bulls and other heavy chewers, nothing beats the king of chew toys, the classic Kong.