When it gets cold outside, it can be understandably more difficult to find the motivation to take your dog on longer walks. You’re cold, they’re cold, and even with the cutest dog sweaters and jackets available, it’s still no fun being outside for any length of time. While it’s fine to shorten your dog walks a bit, it’s important to make sure that the winter weather doesn’t give cause for your pooch to make a New Year’s Resolution to hit the gym. Check out these helpful tips for keeping your dog’s beach body afloat all year long.
1) Play Fetch Inside
Making your pet run the length of your house is an easy way to get them to burn off some energy (and calories) even when they’re not outside. If your dog isn’t great at playing fetch, you might have to get their toys for them in the beginning. You can train them to fetch using treats, but don’t go overboard, because then you’re back at square one.
2) Check to See if Your Neighborhood Has an Indoor Play Space
Some cities and neighborhoods have indoor spots for dogs and their owners to gather so that the dogs can get some exercise and socialization without having to endure the cold. Find out if your town has one of these, and if so, take advantage of it (but only if your dog is good around other dogs, obviously).
3) Consider Doggy Daycare
In a similar vein to indoor play spaces, you might want to consider dropping your pet off at a doggy daycare once or twice a week. This will not only keep them socialized and tired from playing, but they’ll get to run around all day and burn off some of that excess energy.
4) Hire a Dog Walker for More Walks
If you’re not interested in full-day doggy daycare, another option to consider is bringing on a dog walker once a day or a couple times a week. This way, your dog can still enjoy outside time, but you won’t have to freeze out there with them. Most dog walking services, including Cruisin’ Canines, set up routine walks with your dog so that they can get regular exercise.
5) Feed Them Slightly Less
Of course, like with humans, dogs can adjust their diet in accordance with activity level. Look at it like this: if you were training for a marathon, it would be fine to eat a few hundred extra calories a day. However, if you finished the marathon and stopped running altogether but kept up that diet, you’d gain weight. The same can be said for dogs—when they’re not walking as much, you can cut back on how much you’re feeding them. For instance, if they typically get a half cup every morning and night, cut it back by a few tablespoons per day—not enough to make your dog feel truly hungry, but just a few bites less to curb the difference from having shorter walks.
Keeping your dog in good shape is essential for their overall health, not to mention better on their joints (and hey, it could save you a few bucks on their food over the next few months). Follow these tips and you’ll be worrying about how to avoid getting wet from spring showers in no time.