Everybody love the change of seasons, but it’s not always fun or convenient to find ways to exercise your dog in the winter, especially when the days are shorter and it gets dark earlier. For those of us that live in the northern United States, wintertime walks can be beautiful sometimes, but it’s usually all about cold fingers and toes, bitter wind in your face, slush covered dog bellies and trying to stay vertical on icy surfaces. It’s no wonder we sometimes skip the daily walk and stay inside by the fire with a hot cup of tea, or playing and exercising our dogs inside.
Do You Need to Keep Your Dog Active During Winter?
YES! Dog’s physical and mental wellness exercise is also a crucial part of the relationship between you and your dog. On those days when bad weather makes walks impractical, you can still give your pup the exercise that he/she needs and keep him active this year!
What if my Dog Get Cold ?
Don’t worry dog’s have fur coats that can protect them from cold. As we know we all love our dogs and we try to keep them inside where it’s warm as much as possible, but little walk or exercises outside won’t get a harness. Just don’t keep your dogs outside for too long, try to get them out on short walk in that way you will keep them active and healthy.
Dog’s Muscles Need Toning Just Like us!
If your pet has been idle during the winter months because the weather is cold, wet and not conducive to getting outdoors for exercise, the muscles of her body have lost tone and atrophied to some extent. That’s just what happens to muscles — yours and your dog’s — when they’re underutilized.
Studies show that after just a matter of days, well-conditioned muscles begin to lose their tone and strength.
After four or five months of rest during cold weather, your dog’s muscles will weaken. This can set him up for an injury if his activity level suddenly jumps significantly during the first days of spring.
Is Regular Exercises Important for Your Dog’s Health
YES! But unfortunately, your dog can’t get the good aerobic exercise he needs by running around the house or even playing in the backyard. Exercising during the cold winter months can be a hard task to accomplish for both you and your dogs. Beeing locked indoors day after day can be stressful to your pups, especially if you have a high energetic dogs.
That’s why we will show you few activities that you can do with yourdogs during the winter months to tucker them out and make sure the dogs get the exercise they need to be healthy and behave in the winter!
Your Dog is Too Lazy ?
Dogs are naturally social and playful creatures. But then there are those who are sluggish and have made a career of napping all day. If you have a lazy dog that loves being a couch potato then its time to get outdoors. Dogs need daily exercise to stay fit and release pent up energy. There are few ways you can energize your lazy dog.
How can you keep your dog active ?
Have playtime with your dog! Revert back to your childhood game of Hide-and-Seek. This is a great game to get your dog moving and mentally engaged. Get bundled up and go outdoors! Most bigger dogs love the snow and can get a great workout running through it. Limit the amount spent outdoors and be sure to wipe your dog down paying special attention to their paws where salt can built up.
The winter months can be hard on our pets too. When they spend more time indoors, they’re not as active and tend to gain some excess winter weight. Although your dog may look comfortable sleeping by the fire like a hibernating bear, they would rather be engaged in some exercise or fun activity with you and it’s important that they maintain a healthy weight and get daily exercise.
What can you do with your dog this winter ?
- Go for winter walks with your dog
- Winter sports to enjoy with your dog
- Indoor activities for you and your dog
Go for winter walks with your dog
You can still walk your dog in the winter, just be sure to check the temperature and wind chill before you head out, Dr. McPherson advises. “If it’s too cold for you to be stepping out without bundling up and putting on layers and layers, then it’s probably too cold for your dog to be out,” she says.
On milder winter days, however, when there isn’t a lot of ice, you should definitely go for a walk or a hike. If your dog is small or has short hair, Dr. McPherson suggests you buy your dog a coat for extra warmth. And you might want to invest in a pair of dog boots or a dog balm that protects the pads of their feet. “The salt stings them so much,” she says, “It would be like you pouring salt on a cut.”
Winter sports to enjoy with your dog!
There are lots of fun winter sports that both you and your pup can enjoy, starting with ski joring. “Basically you’re harnessed to your dog and your dog pulls you on your skis,” McPherson explains. “It’s quite fun and popular.” Another great winter activity is dog sledding.
Dr. McPherson says she has quite a lot of friends who do it and it’s an intense workout for your dog. Look up a local dog sledding company in your area and see if they’ll let you bring your furry friend to give it a try.
Indoor activities for you and your dog!
Dr. McPherson sets up an indoor agility course for her border collies. “They do jumps and they run through tunnels,” she explains, “And they have a platform that they have to go up on and a teeter totter.”
You don’t have to do official agility training, like you would see at Dog Shows. Instead, think of it as an obstacle course for your dog to play around in. Set up tunnels and jumps in your basement or garage and then run with your dog to get them through the course. “It’s fun, but it’s good mental exercise for them too,” Dr. McPherson says.
Another activity that’s becoming more popular is dog yoga—doga. Dog yoga is like partner yoga, where you and your dog are doing poses together. There may be doga classes in your area, but you can also find lots of free videos online. So you and your dog can find your inner ohm together.
Does your dog need less food in the winter?
Like humans, dogs often experience winter weight gain. So do you need to cut back on your dog’s food? Dr. McPherson says no. In some instances you may need to increase their food if they’re burning a lot of calories while sledding or hiking.
“You may need to feed a bit more if they’re hiking through heavy snow,” she says. “If you’ve ever been outside cross-country skiing, you know you get hungry after a few hours. So carry some snacks and some water for your dog.”
Before making any changes to your dog’s diet, you should always consult your vet.
If you are planning to enjoy the wintery outdoors with your dog, check out these steps and keep your dog warm during winter it will help you to protect your furry friend!