Cold weather drives man and dog inside to escape the harsh conditions outdoors. But not all dogs are content to spend their days and nights lying beside the fire. They still need exercise to keep their minds stimulated and the opportunity to get rid of their excess energy. That means braving the weather to find activities that give your dog the opportunity to run, socialize, stretch and play games. You also benefit by getting out of the house and burning off a few calories yourself. Here's a look at activities to do with your pet in the cold.
Go for a Walk
Frigid temperatures and less daylight make it harder to go for a walk, but not impossible. The first rule of walking outside in the cold is to keep the walks short to minimize exposure to the cold. Use winter coats and booties to keep your dog comfortable and prevent salt burns on sensitive paw pads. If you're unable to get out during daylight hours, bring a flashlight or wear a headlamp so you can see where you're going.
Dogs benefit from going for a walk even if they're brief. They welcome the opportunity to socialize, smell intriguing scents, and stretch their legs. All of these things are essential to a dog's health and well-being, but they can be accomplished pretty quickly. Dogs appreciate getting in out of the cold after a good romp outside even if the romp is a short one.
Play Games Indoors
Got a long hallway or a set of stairs that's carpeted? Toss the ball down the hallway or up the stairs and encourage your dog to play a game of fetch. Stairs are best for dogs that don't have hip or joint issues while a hallway is good for a dog that has joint issues but can still get up to speed with ease. Playing fetch indoors is also an opportunity to reinforce training and good manners by asking the dog to return the ball on request.
Doga or Dog Yoga
Look around your city to find a place that offers Doga so you and your dog can get out of the house and socialize. If you can't find a provider, you and your dog can learn yoga together with videos. Yoga is good for both human and dog as it helps strengthen both bodies in a gentle fashion. It's also a lot of fun to exercise with your dog when more intense activities are out of the question due to the weather.
Send Your Dog to Doggie Daycare
Doggie daycare is a great place for your dog to socialize and exercise when the dog park isn't an option, or when the weather is too cold even for walks. Your dog can meet other dogs, hang out with friends they've made from previous visits, and run around in a safe space. And, you can have trainers work with your dog one-on-one to help reinforce training or learn to do something new.
Keeping your dog active during the winter months means your dog stays at the top of their physical peak for that much longer. Dogs stay trim and fit which in turn puts less stress on their joints as they age. Winter doesn't have to be a time where you stop doing activities with your dog so much as it's an opportunity to try something different. Your dog will thank you by being a happy, healthy and loving companion.