It’s getting cold outside, ensuring that your dogs get enough exercise throughout the year is crucial to their health. Here we present seven useful tips to make sure that you are giving your dog enough exercise throughout the winter.
MAKE TIME OUTDOORS MORE EXCITING
Upgrade a standard backyard romp to a trip to the dog park, a nature trail or another enticing locale. Or, just walk a different route than you usually do. Also, arrange to take your dog out with other dogs, or hire a dog walker if necessary. When you go out, bring a few treats and use them to reinforce a positive cold-weather outdoor experience.
PROTECT YOUR DOG’S PAWS
You can’t blame your dog for not liking to walk around outside when the cold ground, snow, ice, salt and chemical de-icers burn, sting, dry and crack her paws. Get her accustomed to them at home first, offering treats and praise as positive reinforcement. If your dog simply won’t wear booties, Becker suggests petroleum jelly or a commercial protective gel for canine paw pads. Wipe off your dog’s paws immediately after returning home so she doesn’t ingest gel, rock salt or other de-icers while licking.
KEEP YOUR DOG’S BODY WARM
Lots of dogs have built-in coats that can handle cold weather, but many benefit from the additional warmth provided by a doggy jacket or vest, especially in really low temperatures or for extended excursions.
KNOW WHEN IT’S TOO COLD
Providing fresh air, exercise and stimulation for your dog during the cold weather is important, but there is such a thing as too cold. Remember, young and senior dogs and those with conditions such as arthritis struggle even more in the cold. Watch for signs that your pooch can’t handle the deep chill; they can include shaking, cowering, repeatedly lifting up her feet and continuously trying to go back inside.
INDOOR EXERCISE OPTIONS
For when it’s simply too cold out, or when other inclement weather or dangerous conditions won’t let you and your dog get outside, turn to indoor activities that encourage movement and stimulation. If you have a long enough hallway you can clear out, use it for a game of fetch or tug-of-war. Playing fetch up and down a stairway works well, too. Or, play hide-and-seek or put out a trail of treats for your dog to sniff and follow. Don’t overlook indoor options away from home, either. Pet spas, heated indoor dog pools and doggy exercise or yoga classes offer physical activity, mental stimulation and socialization, even when the weather outside is frightful.
Dogs are our best friend, they need warm and love in cold winter.