Winter Is Coming: Will Your Dog Remain Healthy and Fit?
When the cold chill of winter rolls in, most dog owners just want to roll over in bed and snuggle up with their pup. But, winter is no time to become complacent with your dog’s exercise. As tempting as it might be to stay lazy throughout the winter, the reality is your dog needs her exercise in order to maintain her health and wellness.
If you’re unsure about what types of activities are suitable for your dog during the winter, this guide will help you get started. Here are seven different ways to keep your dog active in the winter months.
Take Her for a Nice Walk
As long as the walkways aren’t coated with a layer of ice, it is perfectly fine to walk your dog during the winter, even on cold days as long as the wind chill isn’t dangerously low. However, if your dog has short hair, you should have her wear a dog coat to help keep her warm.
You should also keep in mind that you don’t want to walk your dog on sidewalks that have been recently treated with ice-melting chemicals or salt as these can be harmful to your pet. If there is a lot of snow outside, consider putting pet-appropriate booties on your dog’s paws to keep them protected, and then remove them immediately when you return home.
Play Stair Games
If your dog doesn’t have any problems with her hips, then you can get your dog plenty of exercise by playing a game of toss and fetch on the stairs in your home. Simply toss your dog’s favorite ball or toy up to the top landing and have her race up to get it and then bring it back down again.
Put Her on the Treadmill
Treadmills have been used to help rehabilitate injured dogs for years and they can be equally as effective for walking your dog when the weather outside is too bad to venture out into.
Start the treadmill at a very low speed, stand in front of the treadmill and use a treat to encourage your dog to walk toward you. As your dog becomes more comfortable on the treadmill, you can increase the speed at small intervals. If you plan on using this option, it is important that you stay with your dog at all times while she is exercising and remove her from the treadmill if she doesn’t like it and starts showing signs of distress.
A fun and effective way to help your dog get some good exercise during a cold winter’s day is to play a game of hide-and-seek with her. Toss her a treat in one direction and while she runs after it, move to another part of the home and hide. Then, call out to her and wait for her to find you. She eventually will, but she’ll burn off a lot of excess energy along the way.
Give Her a Treat Ball
Instead of giving your dog a treat, put the treat into a treat ball and your dog will have to work extra hard to get her reward. This is an activity that your dog will love, and she’ll get rid of excess energy while she enjoys herself.
Have a Snowball Fight
If a lot of snow was dumped in your yard overnight, take your dog out the next day and have a snowball fight with her. Dogs love nipping at snowballs and she’ll be jumping and running from start to finish.
Go for a Hike
There’s nothing more serene than walking through the woods after a snowfall. So, grab your leash and hiking shoes and take a walk with your dog through the woods. Just make sure you have your GPS on so you know exactly how to get home.
Winter is a wonderful time of year to really enhance your bond with your dog because you are forced to be so much more involved with her daily exercise. Instead of simply letting her roam the backyard like in the summer, winter requires a dog owner to be more creative in finding ways to get their dog’s exercise in.
Try the above seven options, but don’t stop there. Come up with more new and fun ways to work out your dog in the winter so she will always be excited when you say “it’s time to play.”
Author: Giano Panzarella