Winter can be tough on dogs. Being cooped up all day not only robs them of their outdoor entertainment, it makes it hard for them to get the exercise necessary to maintain their health. Given that 54% of U.S. dog are dangerously overweight, it’s important to seek alternative means of exercise to help your pup stay fit through the winter months. Here’s some quick and and easy ways to give your pup some added physical activity when the weather makes it unpleasant to go outside.
Sign Your Dog Up For a Class
From social skills to increased fitness, canine classes are a quick way for your pup to learn some new skills and get some exercise in the process. Swimming courses, socializing classes, obedience and agility training—there’s tons of options to choose from. It will take a little research to see what’s available in your area and what’s right for your dog, but you’ll both be glad you did it.
Winter is the ideal time to teach your pup some new tricks. Not only can this be done in the comfort of your own home, it’s a fun way to get your dog some needed exercise in the colder months. Remember to stay upbeat—positive reinforcement is the most effective way to educate your dog.
Bring Fido Along For the Ride
Whether you’re heading to the pet store, visiting friends or just running errands, bringing your dog along for the ride is an easy way to get your pup out and about when it’s cold outside. As long as your pet is well-mannered, consider visiting pet-friendly coffee shops, restaurants and bars, too. Your pup will love the extra attention. (Remember to make sure your dog’s safely secured before taking them anywhere in your vehicle).
Schedule a Playdate
Playdates are one of our favorite ways to exercise our doggies during the cold season. Call up your pup’s favorite pal and see if they’d like to meet up at a local dog park, an indoor space, or even in your own backyard. Just be sure to monitor the weather and dress your puppy friends accordingly (including dog boots if your neighborhood uses salt or other anti-ice chemicals that might irritate their paws).
Turn Mealtime Into Playtime
To add a little fun and exercise to your dog’s winter routine, make your pup’s meals (and snacks) into a game. One option is to hide treats throughout your home like a scavenger hunt. Another is to use a food puzzle toy (like a Kong) to feed your pup. The thirty-or-so minutes of extra playtime might not seem like much, but any extra winter exercise is well worth the effort.
Simple indoor games like tug-of-war are an effective way to supplement your dog’s exercise routine when it’s too cold to go outside. Fetch, wrestling, hide-and-seek—the possibilities are endless. As a precaution, make sure the space you’re using is pet-friendly and free of potential safety hazards, such as sharp objects, open flames, and steep inclines like staircases.