ACTIVITIES TO KEEP YOUR DOG HEALTHY DURING WINTER
Every dog parent knows that their dogs need lots of mental and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. If you are the parent of one of those pups who goes to his warm cozy bed at the first nip in the air, and only braves the cold when he has no other choice, then providing mental and physical exercise can be a big challenge for you during the winter months. While colds for pets are a little different than humans, pets do get sick but there are ways to help avoid illness. Lack of exercise in the winter months can lead to weight gain and all of the problems that come with pet obesity. All that pent-up energy can also contribute to some unpleasant behavior issues.
There are several great winter activities for dogs that can help you keep him active and entertained. Below are some tips that can help you make a smart decision for your pet’s health.
Limit pet time outdoors
A popular good rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold for you to be outside for any amount of time, then it’s also too cold for your pet. Be sure to provide your pet adequate shelter to block them from weather conditions if your pet must be outside. Inside your home is the best place for your pet if the temperatures are low. Remember that a pet’s fur coat can only do so much when it’s too cold outside.
Keep your dog hydrated
Be sure to provide your pet with plenty of fresh water so they stay hydrated (don’t let the water get too cold) and keep an eye out for skin conditions as the air both inside and outside homes becomes drier in the winter months. Make sure to visit a veterinarian if your pet starts having flaky skin or if their coat appears overly oily.
Up to date vaccines
Consider a canine flu vaccine for your dog and make sure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccines. Dogs exposed to other dogs are at risk for contracting a virus if the other dog is sick. Make sure to keep sick pets separated from healthy pets. A simple way to prevent avoidable illness is to make sure they are vaccinated.
Keep your dog active
Keep your dog active by taking him on a short walk on a brisk morning, teaching new tricks or finding safe ways to play inside your home is important to keep your pet healthy during winter months. If you plan to go for a walk outside, consider putting booties on their paws for protection and small pets may need to wear a sweater to keep them warm.
Changes in your pet’s diet
A change in your pet’s diet may be in order due to changes in activity levels. If you’re normally giving your dog cold food, try to warm it up in the winter so their bodies don’t have to use extra energy to do it. Less food might also be recommended if your pet is less active. Make sure you speak to your veterinarian before making any changes in your pet’s diet.
Bring the fun inside
There are plenty of super fun ways to get your dog moving without setting a paw outside. You can play hide and seek, food isn’t the only thing that your dog will enjoy searching for, you can also throw a small treatinto the other room to distract him and then hide in a different location while he tries to find you!
Who says you need to be in a backyard or outdoor to play a good game of fetch? If your house has a long hallway or a spacious room, grab your dog’s favorite toy and toss it around for a while.
And believe it or not, many dogs go crazy for bubbles! Just make sure that you use a pet-friendly variety.
You can also make an indoor agility course by using chairs, blankets, broomsticks, hula hoops and other objects that you already have around your house and you can create your own course and spend time training your dog to navigate it.
Extra care to elderly pets
Colder temperatures can make arthritis and other physical conditions harder on elderly pets, so make sure you give them extra care during the winter months.