How to Exercise Your Dog in the Winter | Pet Palace

How to Exercise Your Dog in the Winter

exercising your dog in the winter

Winter weather can be downright uncomfortable, not just for you, but for your dog as well! However, even when it’s cold outside, your dog still needs their exercise. So, read on to learn how you can give Rover a workout while protecting them from snow and freezing temperatures.

 How Can I Protect My Dog During the Winter?

How to Exercise Your Dog in the Winter

 During the winter, we recommend that you keep your dog safe outdoors by:

  • Bundling up – Not all dogs will tolerate a sweater and booties, but if your dog will, this is a great way to keep him toasty warm while braving the elements.
  • Protecting paws – Got a stubborn, bootie-rejecting canine on your hands? After taking them outdoors, don’t forget to clean your pup’s paws off with warm water once you’re back inside to remove salt or ice-melting chemicals.
  • Monitoring behavior – Different dogs can tolerate different temperatures. Generally speaking, the dogs that struggle the most outdoors are usually very young or very old, have short or thin coats, and are smaller breed dogs.

The best way to tell if your dog can handle the cold is to keep a close eye on them outside. If they begin to whine, shiver, slow down, seek out warmth, or hold up one paw at a time, call it quits and head indoors.

 How Can I Exercise My Dog in the Winter?

 To exercise your dog in the winter, we recommend any of the following activities: 

  • Walking – You can still walk your dog in the winter, but you’ll just need to make your walks shorter while making sure you monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort.
  • Play tug-of-war – You don’t need to take your dog outdoors to get them active this winter. Instead, grab a rope and get a game of tug-of-war going. Your favorite furry friend will love competing to see who’s stronger.
  • Use a treadmill – Got a treadmill collecting dust at home? Don’t let it go to waste when Fido can easily put it to good use! Just make sure to keep the treadmill at a comfortable pace for your dog and supervise any treadmill time.
  • Schedule a play date – Does Spot have a BFF? If so, why not schedule a date with your dog’s bestie so they have someone to run around with? Doing so will give your dog the opportunity to frolic and have fun, while giving you the chance to catch up with one of your favorite pet parents. Talk about win-win!
  • Doggie day care – Your dog doesn’t want to be cooped up all winter long! Fortunately, they don’t have to be. With doggie day care, they can catch up on their exercise while making new canine friends. And as a bonus, they’ll be spoiled rotten by our dog-loving staff once they arrive.

The Importance of Keeping Your Pup Active in the Winter

It’s natural to want to snuggle up indoors during the winter months to keep warm and comfortable until the spring. While both you and your pup may enjoy the coziness of the fireplace and a warm blanket, keeping your dog active during the winter months is extremely important.

Not only will an active effort to stay up and moving with your pup reduce the feeling of boredom, but it is also a key component of a dog’s well-being and overall health. Some of the additional reasons to keep your dog active in the winter include:

  • Mental stimulation – Similar to humans, the cold winter months can have adverse effects on dogs and cause potentially destructive behaviors. With limited outdoor activities available, it is important to introduce things such as puzzle toys and interactive games to challenge your dog and lessen boredom. Check out some winter toys we recommend to keep your pup active.
  • Maintaining physical health – Cardiovascular fitness is crucial for a dog’s well-being and health. With that being said, limited outdoor activity does not mean your pup shouldn’t be moving around. Finding opportunities to take brisk outdoor walks or indoor play sessions will help maintain the physical health of your pup.
  • Socialization opportunities – Just like us, dogs need to feel stimulated and interact outside of their own home. Look for opportunities to join indoor dog playgroups, attend dog-friendly events, and organize playdates with fellow pups. Socialization can help dogs avoid the winter blues and lessen the feelings of isolation.
  • Weight management – The nature of the holidays typically brings an increased number of tasty treats and table scraps which can contribute to excessive weight gain. Maintaining an active lifestyle using some of the tips provided above will help regulate your pup’s weight and promote an active lifestyle. 

FAQs on Keeping Your Dog Active in the Winter

What are some indoor activities I can do with my dog?

There are many ways to get creative and make some fun for you and your pup to promote an active lifestyle. Some of the activities we recommend are playing fetch, using a laser pointer, engaging in some hide and seek, and getting a puzzle feeder.

All of these are great ways to promote brain stimulation and activity in between cozying up on the couch.

Is it safe to take my dog for a walk in the cold?

Generally, it is safe to walk your dog in the cold weather, but it is important to consider the temperature and your dog’s breed. Gear such as doggy sweaters or boots can be great tools to keep your pup comfortable.

You’ll also want to adjust the duration of the walks depending on the temperature and your dog’s tolerance to the cold.

Are there specific winter sports suitable for dogs?

There are various winter sports for dogs to enjoy such as hiking, snowshoeing, and even skijoring. However, we would recommend consulting with your local vet to ensure your dog is the right age and breed, and in good enough health to participate in these activities.

Does my dog’s age have an influence on how much exercise they need?

In short, yes. Typically, older or less active dogs tend to be more sensitive to the cold so it is recommended to partake in shorter and gentler activities when it is cold outside. As noted above, you’ll also want to provide additional warmth with sweaters, boots, or scarves to keep your pup comfortable during these activities.

If you want to learn more about how to care for your pup in the winter months, check out our blog posts on cold weather activities and additional tips for winter activities.

 How Can I Make a Doggy Day Care Reservation?

It’s easy to reserve your spot for doggy day care. You can make your doggy day care reservation here.

Lora Shaw

About the author

Lora Shaw

Lora Shaw is currently the Vice President of Operations at Pet Palace.

Categories: Dog Daycare, Dogs, Pet Safety, Tips for Your Pets