How to keep your pup active and healthy during the winter months.
Winter Dog Activities
By Dr. Shadi Ireifej DVM DACVS
Dogs need to keep a healthy and active lifestyle year round, even during the cold winter months around many parts of the world. Engaging their mind as well as physical activity are both very important. As long as some basic safety precautions are kept in mind, there is no reason why the winter time can’t be filled with lots of physically and mentally entertaining activities for your dog! Today we will focus on some fun activities that are safe, interactive, and can exercise your pup. Check out some fun ideas below:
You can see how your dog manages a sled or you can ride one and see how your dog reacts; both activities invite your pooch to create their own game filled with energy and novelty. Maybe you can even ride down some hills as a pair (and your dog can perhaps be trained to bring the sled back up the hill too)!
2. Fetch- Snow edition
Playing fetch can be even more fun in the snow than the sun. Put your mittens on and throw whatever beloved object your dog enjoys retrieving. The added fun is when the object becomes hidden in the snow. Dogs love to sniff things out, and inanimate objects are no exception. For a bonus round, throw snowballs for your doggie to fetch; and watch their wonderment as the snowball breaks up upon impact with the ground, going missing. Not to mention, with enough snow, you won’t run out of snowballs!
Hiding objects in the snow before you take your dog out is a fun way for them to exercise their amazing sense of smell. Most dog breeds are natural hunters and if they can exercise their innate evolutionary behaviors, they will be super pleased!
4. Indoor games
Let’s not forget; if the weather outside is frightful and you are wanting to unleash the beast in your dog, then set up playtime in the house! Build an agility course at home or play hide and seek. Play fetch or tug-of-war. See if your dog likes to chase a laser pointer. Or dress your dog up and takes pictures for your puppies own Instagram! Alternatively, more constructive activities include behavior training or modification.
Invite other doggies over for a fun romp inside or outside with the games mentioned above! Just be sure that everyone is vaccinated appropriately and they all tend to like being around other canines before having a pupper party. Alternatively, some business establishments are pet-friendly and even offer pet snacks! Allow your pet to enjoy the car ride there, hang out with human and dog strangers alike, and you get to enjoy some coffee, tea or snacks for yourself.
Practice your cooking skills by making dog-friendly snacks! If it’s too cold or snowy outside, then hang out with your pooch in the kitchen and try some fun recipes. These snacks help with hiding medications or with training for the future! Just make sure that the ingredients you use are not bad for dogs or allergic to your own pet(s).
And when it’s all over, cozy up with your dog while watching the snow fall or a television show or movie. Maybe enjoy some hot cocoa (just please do not share that with your dog!) and enjoy a fire in the fireplace. There is no more perfect way to end a day of winter bonding with your best four legged friend(s)!