Exercise is key for a dog’s health just like it is for humans. If you have a pet dog, you probably know how hard it is to make sure he gets enough exercise during the winter, especially if you live somewhere particularly cold. However, exercise isn’t just fun for your pet. It also helps him expel necessary energy, keeps his joints and muscles nimble and healthy, and ensures his heart stays healthy.
If you live in a cold place and your dog (and you!) are going stir crazy at the end of winter nears, the following tips may help. These ideas can help ensure that your dog gets enough movement during the season and that his health stays in tip-top shape, no matter what time of year it is.
Play on the Stairs
Do you have a young healthy dog and a set of stairs in your house? Play with your dog carefully on the stairs. Gently toss a toy to the top of the stairs, and have your dog to get the toy and bring it back down to you. It’s like a game of fetch, but with an added element of cardio.
Hide and Seek for Treats
Your dog may be motivated by treats and if so, hide them around the house for a fun game of hiding and seek. Break small pieces of the treats off, and place them in places your dog can find (think, under an armchair or behind a potted plant). Let your dog run around and find the treats. If the pieces are small enough, you’ll give your dog the chance to get in some great exercise and you won’t give him too many calories to offset the work.
Walk in the Sun and Dress for It
Do you want to go outside and walk your dog? It’s totally fine to do that in the winter — just make sure you do it when the sun is at its height. Dress your dog in boots and a coat if necessary, and go on a walk. Walking in the sun during the winter can provide some warmth and some sunshine, which can boost both your mood and your dog’s and give you a great chance to breathe in some fresh air.
Play with Friends
Does your dog have friends in the neighborhood? Arrange a playdate. Dogs get exercise when they play with other dogs, so you can have both dogs in an indoor space and they will both use up some energy. Make sure your dog has met the other dog first, and that you know both dogs get along with each other.
Having a dog is fun year-round, but in the winter it can get more challenging. Finding a way to ensure your dog runs around enough without having to freeze in the cold is tough. However, if you keep some strategic tips in mind, you can be certain your dog gets all of the exercises he needs, and that you, your furry friend, and your whole family stay healthy and happy together for seasons to come.
Also, if your dog is a senior, or if he simply has arthritis and experiences pain when moving around (no matter the season), winter can be particularly tough. Consider asking your vet about Carprofen, a medication used to treat pain and inflammation caused by hip dysplasia, joint diseases, or other types of arthritis in dogs. This medication can help ensure he is able to move around all year long and be as pain-free as possible when he does it.