It can be tough to always take your dog for walks and park play dates in the winter as it is cold, wet and mucky. Many dogs are not meant to be out in extreme temperatures and therefore do not leave the house as much as they would in warmer months.
Three pet experts weigh in on how to keep them fit and entertained during the winter!
1) Vet Advice
- Socialization at home
If you cannot take your dog to their favorite dog park, or to socialize with other people, bring the socialization to your home! Dogs, especially puppies, need to be socialized in order to not be afraid of people and other dogs. Some dogs are also very sociable and love playing with other people and pets. If your dog has a best friend, invite them over to play indoors! This way both dogs get exercise and can have that social interaction. Inviting friends and family members over can help with socialization as well, and can allow your dog to get used to other people.
- Exercise indoors
Keeping your dog fit in the winter can be a challenge as it is cold and the snow can really impact walking ability. If you have a treadmill at home, you can train your dog to use it to burn some energy and keep fit during the winter. A treadmill is great because it is low impact and you can adjust the speed to make sure your dog is comfortable. I would suggest talking to your vet first to ensure this is ideal for your pet as age and medical conditions may not allow them to participate.
Thanks to Alex Crow, Veterinarian consultant and adviser for Happiest Dog, for his insight in writing this article.
2) Pet Accessories Specialist
- Interactive toys
The winter is not ideal for anyone whether animal or human. It is long, cold and dark. Dogs can easily become bored when indoors for prolonged periods of time, and if they are curious by nature, they may find ways to keep themselves busy. This usually means getting into trouble by ripping up furniture and getting into things they shouldn’t. To help keep them entertained, try introducing interactive toys that will help with brain development. There are many toys on the market that are healthy for their mind and keep them busy for long periods of time. Some good examples are licky mats and hideaway stuffed animal toys.
- Treat Dispensers
Treat dispensers have gained popularity over the past couple of years. There are many different varieties and can be controlled either by your dog, or your own smartphone! Treat dispensers that your dog controls are very fun for them and can keep them busy and happy. Whether they press a button or have to chase a rolling ball, these dispensers are a great option. If you find you have to leave your dog home for a long time due to work and other life obligations, treat dispensers that you can control are a great option. From anywhere you can use the toy to spit out a treat and also watch your dog through a camera at the same time.
Thanks to K. Marie Alto, Co-founder at Toe Beans, for helping with this piece.
3) Pet Owner
- Take your dog for a drive
My dog loves going on long drives. They do not like being inside all day, and a long drive can help to break up the day. On the warmer winter days we will pick a place to go for a quick hike at the end of the drive just to get some of their energy out. We will also sometimes top at coffee shops to get a little cup of whipped cream which is worth leaving the house for!
- Take them to doggy events
There are many events in the winter that allow dogs. Some outdoor heated patios at breweries will allow your pooch to join you and is much less cold than going for a walk. There are also many little pop up shops and events made for dogs, so keep an eye on your local media outlets for what there is around for you and your dog to participate in!
For this final tip, we looked for a passionate pet owner to provide insight. The above was submitted by Eli Inman, Founder of US Investment Network.