How to exercise your dog in winter
When the sun is shining it’s always much easier to get out and about with your dog then during winter months when it’s cold and dark. But as you know keeping your dog active all year round is needed to keep them happy and healthy. So when those days of frost and snow appear, how can you make sure that they aren’t missing out?
Prepare for your walks
Even though there are less daylight hours and you will be coming up against muddy paws and cold weather, there is no reason why you can’t still walk your dog. It just might take a little more preparation.
- Wrap up warm – some breeds like the Golden Retriever or Newfoundland are blessed with a double coat which keeps them warm in inclement weather, but other short haired breeds like poodles can get chilly quite quickly. So make sure you pop on a dog coat if needed, and if they start shivering or losing alertness, take them back inside.
- Go out when it’s warmer – to help keep your dog safe it is wise to avoid the coldest parts of the day, which in the winter will be after the sun rises and before it sets.
- Be seen – as the days get shorter the sunlight is not as strong, so it’s worth investing in some after-dark gear such as reflective jackets for the two of you, or an LED collar for them, so that you are both visible to any potential threats.
- Check their paws – the salt and grit that we put down to help keep the streets from getting too icy can sting dog’s paws while they are walking, so it’s a good idea to avoid icy roads and pavements if possible. Then when you get home check their paws and wash off any salt and grit with lukewarm water.
Of course there will be some days when it’s just not possible to get out of the house, so you will need to find a way of helping them exercise indoors. The great news is that there are plenty of options for you to try.
Indoor dog sports
While the majority of dog sports take place outside there are lots of indoor facilities that hold classes for activities like flyball and agility. This is an easy way to keep your dog’s exercise levels up during the winter, as well as giving them a chance to socialise with other dogs and learn a new skill.
Or if you prefer you could always create an at home agility course for them to try. It can be as simple as getting a few cones, cushions or other objects for your dog to climb over and walk around. You could even get creative and create a whole new sport for them to try!
Games like fetch, tug-of-war and hide and seek are fun ways to get your dog moving and help to channel their energy. Play is also great for challenging them mentally and you can use it to improve their critical thinking and problem solving. You could even make them work harder for their treats and meals by using a puzzle ball or a Kong.
Have a doggy playdate
If your dog has a favourite pal that they love to play with, why not invite them over? They can race around the garden if it isn’t too cold, or even play with their favourite toy inside. Your dog will love the extra company and they will be able to get rid of some of that pent up energy too.
As you can see staying active in the winter isn’t just possible, it can be a lot of fun too. If you want to have even more fun, why not include PitPat in your daily exercise routine? Our lightweight and robust activity monitor is fully waterproof, so you can track exercise, calories, play and so much more – whatever the weather!
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