Healthy habits to break the winter blahs for your dog
When it’s cold outside, it is all too tempting to curl up on the couch and watch the snow fly from the warmth of your home. But eventually you’ll start to get a bit of cabin fever, and it’s a good bet you’re not the only one in your household. Just like us, dogs need activity and stimulation year-round, even when it’s not so easy to get outside. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the outdoors through the next few months so your dog stays happy and healthy – and maybe even work off some of those extra holiday pounds!
Safety first. Sometimes fur isn’t quite enough. We’ve discussed before the importance of keeping your dog carefully supervised in winter weather. The media pays a lot of well-deserved attention to the dangers of summer heat for dogs, but winter can be just as deadly. Your smaller or short-haired dog can stay warm (and fashionable!) with a sweater or coat. Also, even though you might have a reliable, trusted underground fence or other barrier for your yard, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them when they’re outside alone, to ensure they are tolerating the cold and staying active.
Let it snow. It’s important to maintain a healthy routine for your dog for both his physical and mental well-being, and that means bundling up and getting out for walks in snowy weather. Before heading outside, warm up inside with a quick game of fetch or tug-of-war to get the blood flowing for both you and your pet.
When the ground is covered in a fresh blanket of snow, there’s plenty to sniff and explore, but you can mix things up even more to add to the fun! Try taking your dog to a new neighborhood or a park you’ve never visited before. A new environment to explore adds excitement for your dog. And don’t forget to keep things interesting for yourself – consider investing in a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis to allow you to cover new ground too!
Even in the snow, a little backyard fetch is a great way to bond with your dog and let him burn some energy – just remember to use a bright-colored ball or toy so your dog can keep track of it in the snow!
How cold is too cold? Some days the temperature or wind chill are dangerously low. Those are good days to keep your outdoors time limited, for your safety and your dog’s.
Stay inside with your best friend beside you, dreaming about winter fun in the days ahead!