How to Keep Your Pup Active in the Winter

pup playing indoorsHumans are not the only ones who get a little stir crazy during the winter months. Our furry friends can feel a little restless when their outdoor play time is limited due to the cold weather. During the winter months, they may want to stay outside and play without realizing how cold it is. That puts your pup in danger. Being outside for an extended period of time has certain hazards, such as frost bite, hypothermia, and salt and chemical exposure that can cause sickness.

For this reason, it is important that their outdoor time is closely monitored in the winter months. Because they cannot frolic around outside as often, it is important that you create some fun indoor activities that will keep them entertained and healthy. We are going to provide you with some useful information on the importance of year ‘round exercise and some fun winter exercise tips for dogs that you can use this winter.

The Importance of Year Round Exercise

Dogs are typically very active animals. They love to run, jump, play fetch and get a little dirty too! Limiting your dog’s exercise can significantly decrease the quality of their life. It is important to avoid this by making sure they are active most, if not all, days of the week. Big or small, dogs benefit from daily exercise. Depending on the age and breed of your pup, it is usually best to get 30 minutes in each day. Some of the benefits of daily, year ’round exercise include:

  • Building and toning muscle
  • Keeping their metabolic system functioning properly
  • Keeping their bones and joints functioning properly
  • Helping stimulate mental functions (thus possibly avoiding destructive behaviors)

Winter Exercise Tips for Dogs

Here are a few great indoor activities for dogs that will keep them healthy and happy during the cold, wintry months:

1. Take them on a field trip to an indoor dog agility training center – If you are lucky enough to have an indoor training center for dogs near you, definitely take advantage of it. This is the next best thing to being outside. With ramps, tunnels and other obstacles and courses to run through, they will have no shortage of play time and healthy exercise.

2. Teach them new tricks – Healthy exercise does not mean intense running for 30 minutes. Simple movements count as healthy exercise too! The winter season is a great time to teach your dog how to sit, stay, roll over, shake and speak! One way to incorporate training with exercise is to have your pup play a doggie version of hide-and-seek. Create an obstacle course and hide a treat at the end. Your dog will have to seek out the treat by going through the course.

3. Play fetch – Most people think you need a large amount of space to play this game with your dog but really its all about how hard or far you throw. Get a smaller, less bouncy toy (to avoid breaking things!) and toss it across the largest room in your home (given that you have the space to do this).

4. Play tug-o-war – A good ole’ rope bone will do the trick here. Give it a good, firm grip and let your dog do most of the tugging.

5. Purchase a food or treat dispensing toy – These are great for the days when you do not have the time to keep your dog busy. They can entertain themselves by playing with the toy to get their reward. These are great because you get to control how much food and treats you put inside so they do not just sit and eat treats all day!

The winter months can be long and sometimes boring for humans and pets alike, but when you have great ideas to keep them (and yourselves) entertained, it can really help to beat those winter blues. We hope that our tips have inspired some winter exercise activities you can do with your pup this winter. And if you need to board your pet, you can rest assured that they will receive plenty of exercise during their stay. Okay, enough with the reading, someone is waiting to play a little game of tug-o-war!

Categories: All Posts, Dogs, Pet Safety