Winter often means colder temperatures and less daylight. This combined with the stress of the holidays, it can be hard to motivate ourselves to get out and exercise with our dogs. While it’s okay to stay inside if it’s too cold, its not okay to skip getting your pup their daily exercise. You need to find ways to get your dog moving, whether that is inside or out! Here are some ways to make the best of the cold weather and keep your dog active during the winter months.
Even if it is cold, your dog still enjoy walks- and still needs them. Be sure you protect your pup’s paws with booties. When it snows, there may be salt or other chemicals on the ground that can irritate their paws. They can also get sick from licking these chemicals, so be sure you are wiping their paws off. If your dog has short hair, they may need a sweater or coat to keep them warm.
There are also ways to keep your dog active without going outside! Try making mealtime a little more challenging and active with a feeding toy. These toys make it harder for your dog to get to their food, creating a little workout. Not only will they eat their food slower (which has health benefits) but they also will enjoy their food more when it is a challenge.
Another way to get your dog moving inside is to play hide and seek with treats! Hide treats in one room while they aren’t looking. Then let them run around and search for the treats by sniffing around! Start off easy and then get more difficult with your hiding places. This is a great, new way to keep your dog moving and reward them at the same time.
Winter is the perfect time to set around a chunk of time every day to teach your dog some new tricks inside. Set aside 15-20 minutes every day and do a training session of fun tricks with your four legged friend. You can start small and keep improving. By teaching your dog new tricks, you’re working out their body and also their mind!
Most dog trainers or other centers have different classes for activities like agility competitions or nose work. In these classes, your dog can learn how to do obstacle courses with running and jumping or work on other skills. Try going to a class or finding an activity you and your dog really enjoy. Having something new to do will keep your dog entertained and in shape during the colder months.
The winter months can be hard for your dog, but with these simple tips they should be having more fun than ever! Just remember to monitor any changes in their weight and stay attentive to their activity levels. Happy Winter!
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