Freshpet wants pet parents to know how important it is that we get our dogs the amount of exercise that they need to remain happy and healthy throughout their lives. This can be a bit easier during warmer months where we can reliably walk them, let them out in a fenced yard, or take them to a dog park to socialize. In colder months as we approach winter, however, providing our dogs with enough exercise can be a bit more of a challenge. Frigid temperatures and the possibility of inclement weather can be obstacles that get in the way of activities that get our dogs active.
To help pet parents who want to ensure that their pets get the exercise that they need regardless of the changing weather, Freshpet explores a few tips that experts stand by.
Take Precautions During Walks
As a rule of thumb, temperatures that are too frigid for us are often too cold for our dogs as well, unless they are a breed with origins in cold climates. Regardless, there may be days during colder months where we feel it is warm enough to get our dogs a good walk or a trip to the dog park, especially if it is sunny and not very windy. One of the easiest ways to take precautions against the cold- especially for smaller dogs and those with short coats- is to invest in a coat or sweater. Freshpet suggests accessories like these to protect dogs against the elements and help them maintain their body heat during a walk.
It is also a great idea to invest in boots if you live in an environment that gets a lot of ice and snow. While both can be detrimental to our dogs’ paw pads, it is actually the salt and chemicals that are put down to melt them that present the most significant risk to their paw health. Other precautions such as taking shorter walks can help ensure that the cold is not as much of a problem while still getting in a good amount of exercise.
Play Games Inside
At times when the weather prevents us from taking our dogs for walks, having a routine for having fun inside can be a real asset. Some dogs enjoy games such as hide-and-seek as it can keep them both physically and mentally engaged. There are other options for playing games inside as well. If there is enough space in your home to play with toys, for example, there are a lot of activities that can burn some of your dog’s energy.
Dogs can have different preferences when it comes to what games they enjoy, so try your hand at a variety of them to see which keep them the most engaged. A great indoor play routine coupled with a bit of outside time can combine to give your dog the exercise necessary to stay healthy and spry.
Consider a Few Indoor Friendly Toys
Having a few toys that are meant to get your dog active inside can be excellent for keeping them in shape during colder months. For example, treat-dispensing balls are very popular because they can keep your dog both mentally stimulated and fit while they play inside. With a few treats and some encouragement, pet parents can get their dog engaged and moving. Other toys such as flirty poles, tug of war ropes, and even pet-safe remote control toys can be great for keeping the activity going if the weather cuts outdoor exercise time short. Starting with just a few can give you a clear idea of what your dog is into and their preferred play style. From there you can always grow their collection of toys so that they have some to pull out during the day.