Fall is upon us, animal lovers! I don’t know about you but this is my favorite time of the year. Here in the Midwest the leaves are changing into the most beautiful and dazzling colors. It is a time of pumpkin pies, raking leaves, and harvest festivals (not to mention a time of ghouls and ghost come Halloween). While I love all these things, the Autumn season also signals something else: The coming of winter.
As the temperature begins to drop it’s easy to slow down a bit. You look outside and say to yourself, “It’s too chilly to go out, I’ll just curl up with a good book.” In today’s blog I’m going to try to encourage you to stay active through the Fall and Winter, for your sake and for the sake of your pet or pets.
Reasons To Stay Active
Some of the following are pretty self-explanatory but they should be mentioned, nonetheless:
- Inactivity leads to lethargy and boredom which then leads to depression. If you’re like me it’s easy to fall into seasonal depression because of cold temperatures and grey skies. Staying active will help you AND your pet combat seasonal depression.
- By staying active you and your pet will stay in shape. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll both be able to avoid the Spring weight loss routine (which is often times shocking and painful).
- Staying active in the Autumn months will increase the likelihood that you’ll stay active in the Winter, when the temperatures REALLY drop and motivation wains!
- I’m sure you’re the same as me (otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog), the more time I spend with my pets the happier and balanced I feel. Nothing improves quality of life like hanging with your four-legged best friend!
Include Your Pet in Fall Chores
One way to spend more time being active with your pet is by getting your pet involved with fall cleanup. Obviously, this really just pertains to dogs. I’ve known some cat owners who claim their cat will hang out with them in the yard but I’m not convinced. If this type of cat exists I’ve not seen them. At the very least they are rarer than free lunches. Anyway, back to topic, here are some ways to get your canine buddies involved in Fall cleanup:
- Turn raking leaves into a game. Jumping in leaf piles is fun for kids as well as dogs (and adults for that matter, some of us just choose to ignore these simple pleasures).
- Don’t be 100% no-nonsense and task oriented when raking up the leaves. You and your dog will have a blast! Bring out a tennis ball or the like when raking leaves. Take time to throw or kick the ball for your dog. He or she will be happier and you’ll get a better workout at the same time.
- I had a dog in college who was a tug-of-war champion. If your canine pal is the same way, take time to “challenge” him or her to a tug-of-war match when you’re cleaning up your garden. I’ve found dead, uprooted tomato plants are ideal. Just don’t use hot pepper plants! I don’t have space in this blog to tell you how I know that, but, trust me, I do!
- The more you include your dog in these annual chores the happier he or she will be. You get exercise together and your friendship will stay strong and keep growing!
What About Cats?
Even though (most of) you can’t enjoy the above activities with your cats there’s plenty of things you can do to keep the momentum going through the Fall and into Winter.
- My cat is a little strange: She likes to play fetch! I have a basket of catnip mice that I keep on a small table next to the couch in my living room. I have a basket full because sometimes she can’t be bothered to bring the mouse back. Nevertheless, we spend hours a week playing this game.
- I also have what I call “The Bird.” It’s a bundle of weighted feathers attached to an elastic cord which in turn is attached to a plastic rod. This keeps my cat occupied like nothing else. Plus it’s a laugh riot watching her jump three to four feet in the air trying to get the bird. Just be sure to do this in an area free of valuable, fragile items.
- Laser pointers are also good for the more sedentary months. Though I would recommend using the laser pointer away from drapes. My little feline warrior has ruined her fair share!
Have fun with your pets regardless of the weather or season. You both deserve it!