When the nights are longer and the days are colder, it can be tempting to skip your dog’s evening walk and just snuggle up inside. However, no matter what time of year it is, your dog needs an adequate amount of exercise to maintain a healthy weight, release pent-up energy, and stay on her best behavior. To help your dog stay healthy and happy all season long, check out these 5 ways to keep your dog active in the winter!
Most of the time, dogs will still enjoy their daily walk (or two) even if it’s chilly out. Maintaining your walking schedule year-round gives your dog physical and mental stimulation, as well as time to socialize regularly. However, winter walking does require some extra safety precautions to make sure your dog stays warm, so make sure you brush up before you gear up.
Make Mealtimes A Game
To give your pup some indoor activity, forgo the typical dogbowl and hide her meals in a puzzle toy. Not only will your dog expend some extra calories trying to get to her dinner, but she’ll also sharpen her problem-solving skills. Plus, the extra time it takes to get her food out will slow her eating, which reduces your dog’s risk of developing gastrointestinal issues.
Teach A New Trick
Like puzzle toys, training sessions activate your dog’s brain and body without having to brace the cold weather. If you’re new to training sessions, start with easier tricks like “sit,” “shake,” and “lay down.” As your dog gets the hang of it, work up to more difficult tricks and see how much your dog can learn. Before you know it, your dog will have worked off some extra calories and become better behaved. Just make sure to keep training sessions to about 15 minutes so neither of you get bored.
Try Agility Training
Agility training isn’t just a competitive sport anymore. Nowadays, many cities have agility parks that are perfect for giving your dog an unconventional workout. Some parks even provide beginner classes to teach you and your furry friend how to use the course. If you don’t have an agility park in your area, consider making your own. Include a good blend of jumps, tunnels, teeters, weave poles, and pause tables.
Consider Doggy Daycare
Doggy daycare is a great way to make sure your dog gets enough activity, and the presence of experienced trainers can help your dog become better behaved. Plus, since your pup will be exposed to many other dogs, they’ll pick up on social cues and learn how to interact better with others.
Winter is a time when many pups pack on a few extra pounds, and if you’re not giving your dog regular exercise, you may notice weight gain. If you notice your dog is becoming a bit “fluffier,” speak to your vet about diet and exercise options to get your furry friend to a more healthy weight.