Winter weather is not an excuse to push your dog’s much-needed excise to the side. Your furry friend should be getting some physical activity every day, and since this tends to be a difficult task to accomplish during colder temperatures, we’ve gathered up some information to make it a bit easier for you and your pup this season.
Instead of just letting your pup run around the yard, as usual, take them to the dog park or nature trail every once in a while to increase their mental and physical stimulation with new and refreshing surroundings. If you take a regular walking route every day, switch it up and explore another area. Surprise your furry friend with some new exciting toys or savory treats to give them after your winter walks to reinforce a positive cold-weather experience. No one’s expecting you to switch up your dog’s exercise schedule every single day. But changing it up at least once a week or so will increase your dog’s stimulation, keeping them happy and healthy for the whole season.
During snowy weather, the sidewalks are covered in ice, salt, and chemical de-icers that do nothing but burn, dry and crack your poor pup’s paws. To prevent this invest in some doggy booties, they’ll keep their paws warm and protected. You’ll need to give your furry friend a bit of an adjustment period though, so introduce them first in the house with positive reinforcement until they’re comfortable enough to wear them outside. Another option if your dog just won’t wear booties is protective gel for pup’s paw pads. Be sure to always wipe the gel off after your walk, so your dog doesn’t ingest it or anything that stuck to it during your walk.
Even though your dog does have their own built-in personal winter coat, another layer of warmth and protection is beneficial. You can find a multitude of doggy jackets and vests that are made for being in lower temperatures for an extended period of time. Puppies, elderly dogs, and smaller dogs especially need some extra warmth to ensure the safety of their health.
Fresh air and outdoor stimulation are essential to your dog’s continued well-being, but there is such a thing as too cold, and it’s important to recognize that. If it’s too chilly for you, then it’s probably too frigid for Fido also. Colder weather worsens a dog’s arthritis and is going to be much worse on puppies and elderly dogs than on your average adult dog. So if you’re not sure if it’s too cold then keep an eye on your four-legged friend, watching out for shivering, cringing, and repeatedly trying to come back inside.
If the winter elements do prevent you and your canine from going outside you should still try to get in a little bit of exercise inside if you can. If you have a long enough hallway, you can clear it out and try playing fetch or tug of war. Hide and seek with treats hidden throughout the house will not only be physically but especially mentally stimulating. There are even indoor dog programs you can invest in where your dog can also socialize with other pups and people while getting their workout in.
Winter and its frigid temperatures are not fun for you or your pup, but you can’t let that be an excuse to skip on your dog’s exercise. Some dogs love to brave the cold and snow, but for those who don’t it’s important to take the necissary steps to keep them active and safe all season long.
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