Indoor Activities to Keep Your Cat and Dog Active During the Winter

The winter months include plenty of chaotic, yet cheery festivities for the entire family, but the cold weather season can also bring unexpected boredom to pets that typically spend lots of time outdoors.

Because under-met exercise can lead to behavioral issues, it’s important to make sure your pet’s needs for play and socialization remain consistent year round. The pet experts at Hartz share different ways to play with your companion animal indoors to stave off boredom, strengthen your bond together and maintain a healthy weight until spring.

Dog and cat lying on the floor during the winter. You need to exercise your dog and cat in the winter.

It is important to keep your dog and cat active during the winter months.

Getting innovative indoors

Like people, pets can also experience cabin fever when kept inside for prolonged periods. When the temperatures are uninviting, owners may find themselves slacking on the regular exercise routine their dog is used to. Similarly, some cats and dogs simply refuse to go outdoors when the frost has crept in or the ground is snow covered.

To keep cats and dogs appropriately entertained and mentally stimulated, here are a few ideas to keep those winter blues at bay.

Satisfying play patterns

Knowing the preferred play style of your pet can help you keep things fresh inside with toys that fulfill those behaviors.

Regularly rotating toys and introducing new games too is a great way to break up routine. Luckily, it is easy to adapt your pet’s favorite outdoor activities right at home indoors.


  • Toss & Retrieve

    Your dog’s wolf descendants take part in a natural canine behavior called ‘prey-carrying.’ After a successful hunt, sometimes wolves will carry their meal back to the den to be eaten within the safety of the pack – essentially retrieving dinner. The game of fetch is a simpler variation of this, and Hartz Dura Play toys fit the bill! The lightweight foam interior of Dura Play balls, bones, rockets and discs is outfitted with a durable latex shell that’s bacon scented and chew resistant for hours of play. These toys are soft and perfect for playing indoors.

  • Chew

    Chewing is a behavior dogs exhibit to learn about their environment. Sniffing, tasting and chewing helps them investigate objects and satisfy the natural urge to chew and gnaw as a method of keeping their teeth and gums healthy. The Hartz Chew n’ Clean line promotes mental and emotional wellbeing along with dental benefits which result from the act of chewing. Dogs can enjoy some quiet time with Chew n’ Clean toys that suit dogs of all sizes as well as their preferred level of chew strength (puppy and senior, moderate and strong).

  • Tug

    Tugging is a collaborative game that strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It’s a great activity that uses different muscles and parts of your pup’s brain, while also teaching self-control. Hartz Tuff Stuff toys are constructed from soft yet durable ballistic-grade nylon to withstand rigorous chewing and ruff-housing to entertain playful pups who are tough on their toys.

Hartz® Dura Play® Ball Small
Hartz® Chew ‘n Clean® Dental Duo™ Extra Large


  • Swat

    Cats will swat when they are curious about something or investigating unfamiliar objects. They will also nudge things with their paws to mimic the instinct to toy with their prey. Hartz has plenty of small, lightweight cat toys that move easily to stimulate your cat’s interest and elicit activity.

  • Hunt

    Cats are natural hunters, but unlike their wild counterparts, they don’t need to depend on killing other critters to survive. However this hunting instinct is still a strong part of your cat’s character. Unleash your cat’s inner hunter with lifelike Hartz toys that mimic the movement and sounds of prey he would encounter in nature.

  • Share

    Interactive play is a powerful tool for building trust with your cat, helping multiple cats become friends, exercise and stress relief. Hartz offers an array of toys that put you in control of creating prey-like action to make playtime more fun!

Hartz Cattraction with Silver Vine & Catnip® Macaron Mice™ Cat Toy
Hartz Cattraction with Silver Vine & Catnip® Gator Scratch™ Cat Toy

Hide & Seek

Cats and dogs are wired instinctually to spend most of their waking hours in search of food. Encourage the wild ancestor in your pet to surface by hiding treats around your home.

Training and Tricks

Practice makes perfect! Is there a command that your dog or even cat is struggling to pick up? Additional time spent indoors means more time for learning. This could mean working with your dog to master a new move or spending extra time helping your cat get her litter box training in order.

Carve out quality time

Familiar surroundings with the same routine can become mundane quickly. Make a date with your canine companion on an outing to pet-friendly stores, or arrange a play date with your pup’s furry friends. Many doggy daycares offer off-leash exercise and indoor play with other dogs to give your dog a new level of interaction while you’re at work or away from home.