Thanks to Kristine Levine, pet expert, for this post. You can find her full biography at the end of the article.
Anyone who has a dog knows that their furry needs a lot of physical and mental activity to be happy and healthy. This can be a challenge during the winter months, especially if you have one of those dogs that won’t leave his warm, cozy bed for the world and only when he has no other option, he comes out.
Just because your dog is a little reluctant to play in the snow doesn’t mean he has to laze around on the couch until the nice weather returns. Lack of exercise in winter can lead to weight gain and all the problems associated with obesity in pets. Even if your dog isn’t very heavy, being there for days or weeks is enough to make him claustrophobic! And all that pent-up energy can contribute to some nasty behavioral issues.
You may be interested in taking a look at this post with Tips To Help Your Puppy Survive This Winter, here.
If you’re not up for spending long hours playing outside together, there are plenty of winter dog activities that can help keep your dog active and entertained.
Make him earn his food
Mealtime can be the perfect time for a little physical and mental exercise. Instead of just putting the bowl of food in front of your dog at mealtime, why not offer him a little mental challenge? Working on a dog’s intelligence can tire him as much, if not more, than a long walk.
- Treat-dispensing toys are a great way to exercise your pup’s brain. My favorite game is the Buster Cube. Simply drop a handful of feed into the opening. Your dog will have to figure out how to roll the toy so that the food falls out.
- Slow food bowls, like the Outward Hound Fun Feeder, are another option for making eating a fun and stimulating experience for your dog. These bowls are more like mazes than feeders and will keep your dog busy while he fills his belly. Not only is this a stimulating experience for your dog, but it will prevent him from eating all of his food in 30 seconds, helping him stay healthy.
- Do you prefer to go simple? Then you can hide some treats around your house for him to look for, or place his food somewhere else at mealtimes to encourage him to find it.
Have fun at home
You don’t have to freeze for your dog to get the exercise he needs. There are lots of fun ways to get her moving without going outside.
- Hiding place. Food isn’t the only thing your dog will enjoy looking for. He tries to throw a treat at him in another room to distract him, then goes and hides in a different spot while he tries to find you.
- Climbing stairs. Going up and down stairs repeatedly is a form of exercise without even realizing it. If he prefers not to go up, try throwing his favorite toy down the stairs for him to chase. Of course, if your dog is older or has joint problems, stairs may not be the best option.
- Go get the ball. Who says you have to be outside to play catch? If your house has a long hallway or a spacious room, take your dog’s favorite toy and throw it for him to pick up. (Of course, make sure you’ve removed any valuables that could be knocked over by an overzealous dog!)
- Bubbles. Dogs love bubbles! Just be sure to use a variety of pet products.
- An agility course at home. Use chairs, blankets, brooms, rings, and other elements that you already have in your house, you can create a course and train your dog. Also, make sure anything you place is stable enough that it won’t topple over when your dog walks by.
- Book a class. Find out about availability in your area. Lessons in agility, flyball, or even dog pools are offered in many cities. All of these activities would be a perfect opportunity for you and your dog to get over the winter blues.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WALKING YOUR DOG IN WINTER
The cold harms the health of your pet and to avoid complications we will give you some recommendations for walking your dog in winter. There are activities reserved for the summer and warmer times of the year. But, this does not imply that you can enjoy and play when temperatures drop.
At Save, your online puppies store, we will show you the correct way to shelter, care for and prevent diseases in your dog.
The dangers of cold in pets
Dogs’ fur protects them from different dangers, especially from the cold. But short-haired breeds, puppies, and the elderly are vulnerable to inclement low temperatures if they are not properly cared for. The risk of hypothermia is latent. So you have to pay attention to bathing and walking habits.
Our pet must have a warm corner in the house to sleep in that is not in contact with gusts of wind. This shelter can be built with some quilted blankets. If the dog sleeps on the patio, it must have thermal insulation and materials in its kennel that help contains humidity. When bathing him, you have to dry him well before he leaves the house, any carelessness can expose him to severe hypothermia.
Hypothermia produces lethargy, shivering, weak pulse, and body temperatures below 35°C in dogs. This leads to serious complications that can culminate in the death or freezing of vital parts. During this time it is crucial to be attentive to mood changes in pets, especially if they are puppies.
Another disease in dogs during the winter is kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis. It is easily contagious and difficult to cure, the best prevention is to vaccinate them. In unvaccinated puppies the chances of contracting it increase. If the animal has a fever, constant cough, vomiting, and excess mucus, go to a veterinarian to consult about the symptoms and start treatment.
Walking your dog in winter is not prohibited, this activity is fun and necessary at any time of the year. What is important is a precaution for both you and your pet. If you have doubts about your pet, vaccines, care, or diseases, it is best to inform yourself well.
If you want to know more about How to take care of a dog in winter? do not hesitate to consult its complete file here.
8 recommendations for walking your dog in winter
To protect your pet from the cold it is not necessary to invest large sums of money or fall into paranoia. Dogs can maintain body heat better than humans. But, that is no excuse to neglect it in the winter. With these 8 simple tips, you can walk your pet without problems.
- Take care of your health, and wrap up warm! If you want to protect your pet from the cold, you must stay in good health! Consume vitamins, take care of your diet, bundle up and take a hot drink when you go for a walk with the dog. If you feel discomfort or observe that the temperature is too low, avoid exposing yourself to an illness. You are the main protector of your puppy and the worst that could happen is that you get sick. On walks, wear non-slip boots or shoes to avoid accidents.
- Put a jacket on your do this advice is optional and will depend on whether the dog’s breed is resistant to cold. A long-haired dog is much more resistant to cold than a short-haired one. These do not need shelter to go out: Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Siberian Husky, Chow Chow, and Saint Bernard, among others. In addition, they can move in the snow without problems small breeds, puppies, elderly dogs, or dogs with diseases such as arthritis should be well-dressed. To avoid the dangers of cold in pets.
- Use a solid leash to avoid slipping on the road, it is best to have a solid leash, such as those used by runners to walk their dogs. Make sure that it is not retractable or it will complicate the control of your pet’s steps and make the trip more uncomfortable for you. Check that the rope has a good grip system.
- Protect their paws your pet’s paws and ears are vulnerable areas to possible frostbite. That is why it is important to protect them. Wearing dog boots is one way to protect them, but this is uncomfortable for most animals. The advisable thing, in this case, is to keep the excess fur trimmed on the pads of its legs. This prevents the accumulation of snow and debris.
- Put a front harness on the pet adult dogs possess enormous strength if they are in good body condition, especially large breeds, so it is advisable to fit a front harness. This mechanism prevents slipping on the road as it provides a full grip. Try it on the animal before going for a walk and check that it feels comfortable and that it is not tight or too loose.
- Keep him dry If you just bathed him, make sure he is dry before taking him out for a walk. If you are going to put clothes on him, check that they are dry and clean. Going out into a cold environment with wet fur exposes them to almost certain hypothermia. It is recommended that the dog’s clothing be waterproof to protect it from snow and rain.
- Protect them from falling into wells be careful of dropping your dog into wells with cold water. Avoid walking it on spaces with thin ice that is prone to breaking. It is a danger for both you and the pet.
- Clean your pet at the end of the walk to remove snow, chemicals used and salt in the streets and cities, these elements are trapped between the legs of the animal. When you get home, clean this area as it can be toxic and cause harm to your dog.
Enjoy the wonders of winter
There is no substitute for spending time outdoors with your dog. One of the best ways to keep him healthy is to take him for a daily walk, even when it’s cold.
Discover different paths. The walks may not last as long as when it’s hot, but you can make these short walks more interesting. Instead of following the same route day after day, take a new route. Visit another part of the neighborhood or drive and admire the scenery from another part of the city.
When I take my dog, Chilly, to a new place, I love to see his surprise and watch him sniff like crazy as he explores unfamiliar surroundings.
Try a new sport. If you and your dog like to stay active, winter is a great time to try something new! Mushing and skijoring (which is a kind of a cross between mushing and cross-country skiing) are great activities to help large dogs get exercise.
As tempting as it may be to let your dog hibernate in his bed during the winter, keeping him mentally and physically active is much better for his health! With a little imagination, you and your best friend can stay fit and healthy despite the challenges winter throws at us.