So yeah, it's finally cold. And even though we've been lucky so far this winter, it WILL snow eventually! You and your dog might be less excited to exercise when it's cold out, but fresh air and exercise is still very important for your pup. Here are some ideas to make cold-weather activities a little more tolerable:
- Many dogs dislike going outside in the winter because snow, salt, and chemical de-icers hurt their paws. Canine booties can protect their feet and keep them warmer. Ultra Paws are awesome for winter hiking, and PAWZ are rubber booties that appeal to dogs who don't like the feel of thicker boots. If you (or your dog) don't like the idea of boots, applying Lumino Nose and Paw Moisturizing Butter before and after walks can be an effective alternative for protecting toes and paw pads in snow and ice.
- Getting your dog to play outside may simply be a matter of keeping her warm. Puppies, smaller dogs, and short haired dogs should be dressed in a coat or sweater. Waterproof coats are essential for wet days.
- Staying warm during winter requires more calories, so increased food intake may be necessary. Good body condition means you can feel, but not see, your dog's bones. If you can see his spine, hips, or ribs, he's too thin and you should come in and talk to us about changing or increasing his food.
- If you've tried everything and your dog still seems miserable when you take her outside, provide extra exercise inside. Winter is a great time to take an indoor training class (such as obedience or agility from Opportunity Barks) or take your dog to doggy day care (Central Bark is our favorite) a few times a week for some indoor play, learning, and socialization.
- Help your dog expend mental energy while staying warm indoors by feeding her meals in food-puzzle toys, giving her plenty of things to chew, and playing interactive games like hide-and-seek with treats.
Winter can be a great time to get exercise in, but please remember, if you're cold your dog probably is too and it's time to come home. Now go and have some chilly fun!