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Keeping Your Dog Active in the Winter

Keeping Your Dog Active in the Winter

For dog owners across the North, late-January to early-March can be the “dog days” of winter and with the Holidays in the rear view mirror and Spring oh so far away, it’s easy to see how laziness can start to set in for both pet and parent alike. But don’t give in! It’s extremely important to keep your dog active this time of year, as a lazy pooch is more susceptible to illness or injury. It also helps with behavior, as exercise gives more hyperactive dogs an outlet for energy that would otherwise be spent causing trouble around the house. Here are a few simple suggestions that if followed will leave your pup healthy, wealthy, and wise:

Outdoor Activities

Winter weather can provide for a lot of fun outdoor exercises for your pet, especially if they tend to be active. A good romp around the snow or a simple game of fetch can be a fun way to burn a lot of energy while keeping your dog occupied. And as long as it is dry outside most dogs can tolerate cold weather for long periods of time, especially if they have longer hair or fur. However, before getting into an outdoor exercise routine make sure that your pooch is up for it. Puppies don’t have the same cold tolerance as adults and older dogs might be more susceptible to muscle or joint injuries caused by cold air. If you think that there might be any reason why your dog would have issues exercising outdoors, take it to a vet first for a routine physical checkup and ask whether they would consider outdoor exercise a healthy activity for your pet. If you’re all set to take them outside just make sure to keep a close eye on your pooch as they romp around. Dogs are oftentimes more likely to get lost when there’s snow on the ground, as it hinders their sense of smell. And after a long enough time outdoors even the hardiest dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, especially if they are dealing with cold, wet weather.

Indoor Activities

If you don’t feel comfortable having your dog outside for an extended period of time, try to see if there is a pet-friendly indoor area near where you live, such as an arena or an empty basketball court. But even if you find your best friend confined to the house there’s still plenty you can do to keep them occupied. Try taking advantage of the time spent indoors to do some simple training exercises, such as having your dog do “pushups” by commanding him/her to sit, and then lie down, and then sit again. Doing this repeatedly will give your pooch a good indoor workout while reinforcing key commands. If you already have a well-trained dog, try playing hide-and-go-seek by having him/her stay in one room while you “hide” and have your pooch find you by calling out their name. Using rewards in these types of activities help positively reinforce cues and increase reliability in addition to helping him/her stay fit. The one thing to remember is that you don’t want your pet flopping around in their dog bed all winter, but make sure to be vigilant about your pet’s safety if you are planning on taking them outdoors. And always remember that you don’t have to leave the house to get them in shape for warmer weather.

Dog Article courtesy of Emily @

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