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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Keeping Your Dog Active and Fit In The Winter

by:  Laurie Brzostowski

It is really cold outside and I haven't been able to walk either my dog or my clients dogs on any "walks" due to the extreme low windchill temps.

I, personally, have been hitting the gym 5 or 6 days a week but that is easy for us.  We just get in our car and go.

For dogs, we have to try and keep them fit and active during the winter months also.  They get cabin fever and they can also get bored just lying around the house all day.

Here are some great tips for keeping your dog active and fit during the winter months and severe cold weather.

  • Fetch: Toss a ball or any of his toys and have him bring them back to you.  Keep doing this for a while so he gets playtime in.

  • Laser pointer: Yes, these are generally for cats, but some dogs go wild for them. It is also highly entertaining for us humans to watch our dogs go crazy after these laser lights.

  • Hide and seek: Position yourself and a pal or child or significant other at two different points in your home, preferably with something like a staircase between you. Then take turns calling your dog and rewarding him with a treat when he finds you. Each time your dog goes to one person, the other person changes location so your dog has to search for you again.

  • Searching game: Hide treats or Kongs filled with treats all around the house and have your doggie go find them.

  • Chasing bubbles: A lot of dogs (and cats too!) love chomping on bubbles.  To make this activity extra fun, set up a fan.  Please be sure to use pet friendly bubbles

Got cabin fever? Here are some ways your dog can get indoor exercise outside of your home.

  • Agility class: For extra fun, enroll your dog in an indoor agility class. Your local shelter may offer one, or know of a place that does.  Check the training facilities in your area.

  • Your local pet-supply store: Bring your dog with you the next time you run to Petco or other pet-friendly store. Not only will this give your dog some interesting sights and smells, it’ll help him burn the calories off from all the extra winter treats.

Also, before doing any of these things make sure your pet is healthy enough to do these activities.  Some senior dogs may have problems going up and down stairs, running back and forth and any kind of agility programs may be painful for older dogs.  

When it gets a bit warmer, make sure everyone gets outside for some walks.  Again, be careful with any ice melt chemicals on the sidewalks, roads or driveways.  Make sure you rinse your dog's feet after returning home from your walk.

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