When it gets cold outside, it makes sense that most of us avoid heading out for long dog walks multiple times a day. While your dog probably doesn’t mind staying inside where it’s warm, it’s still important to make sure that they get enough exercise all season long. Follow our tips to make sure that your dog stays in good shape.
1) Take Your Dog on More Frequent, But Shorter, Walks
Just because it’s colder doesn’t mean that your dog should be stuck inside all day. Instead of 3 half-hour walks, try four 10 to 15 minute walks each day. If you can’t fit in more walks into your current schedule, you can bring on a dog walker to stop by your home a few times a week or once a day to help out. On weekends, bring your pooch to the dog park where they can run around and enjoy some socialization with other dogs—this will tire them out pretty quickly, and you can head back home.
2) Bundle Up
If you’d prefer to keep your dog’s schedule constant, you’ll have to bundle up—and we don’t just mean you wearing a heavy coat. Your dog will need to wear something to keep them warm, like a sweater or jacket, and if it’s icy or snowy outside, boots might be an appropriate way to keep their feet safe. Once you do come inside, make sure that you dry off your pup if it was snowy or wet outside, and if they weren’t wearing boots, wipe off their paws with warm water—pay extra attention between their toes—to remove ice melting chemicals and debris.
3) Sign Up for Doggy Daycare or Dogsitting Groups
If you or someone you know works from home, and they also have dogs, you can suggest a meet-up wherein one of you watches both of the dogs indoors, and the dogs can wear each other out by playing with one another. Alternatively, sign your pet up for doggy daycare a few times a week, where they can go and play with a handful of other dogs. Ask anyone who’s had a dog go to daycare—their pet always comes home tired out. Not only is this good for socialization, it’s good exercise too!
4) Create New Ways to Exercise Indoors
If your dog likes playing fetch outside, transition the activity to the inside of your home. Find a long hallway and have your dog play fetch in there. If you don’t have a long hallway in your house, try throwing a ball across the largest room in the house or play tug of war to help them burn off some energy.
Another way to make sure your dog stays in shape over the winter is to reduce their food intake just slightly. Cutting back by just a few tablespoons a day can cut their calories enough to make up for slower-exercise months.