Winter is tough for all of us... and especially our dogs! When it's bitterly cold outside, the last thing we want to do is take our furry little kids on a nice, long walk. So we end up giving them very little exercise, which contributes to two issues. One, our dogs need exercise to maintain a healthy weight! Just like us, if we don't get exercise but keep our calorie intake the same, the weight starts to creep on. And with dogs, a little weight can affect them much quicker than a pound or two might affect us. And two, a lack of exercise can contribute to behavioral issues. Without proper exercise, our pups are far more likely to chew things they are not supposed to chew, have accidents in the home and they can even become irritable (just like us)!
So what can we do to get our fur kids enough exercise in the bitter cold? A quick game of ball outside in the yard (or inside, if you have the room) can be a great short burst of exercise. Also, hiding treats (or a favorite toy) in the house can create a great game of hide and seek, and mental activity will wear a dog out quicker than physical activity! Another idea is to look into a dog daycare center near your home. While you go to work, once or twice a week you can take your dog to daycare and they get to play ALL DAY! This is great for everyone; your pup will come home exhausted and you will get to enjoy a relaxing evening at home. If you decide to look into daycare, make sure you research the center before taking your dog there. See if you know someone who takes their dog and get their opinion, see if you can find reviews online, and make sure the center requires the dogs to be spayed or neutered and up to date on all of their shots, like the bordatella shot.
So if it’s not too cold, get those puppaloos outside and playing in the snow! If it is too cold, I hope you can find an idea that will keep everyone in your family happy... and healthy!