Us pet owners know that our furry friends need plenty of exercise, mentally and physically, to maintain their health all year round. The extreme temperatures can make the winter months a challenging time to be outside with your dog, making the experience more unpleasant rather than rewarding. However, a lack of exercise can take a toll on your pet’s overall health and lead to several concerns including obesity, hyperactive and aggressive behavioral issues, and even depression.
If you’re both not up for the chilly adventure, there are many fun activities to enjoy in the warmth and comfort of your home while keeping your dog happy and healthy. From brain-stimulating action to physical challenges, here are five fun ways to keep your dog active and fit during the colder months.
You don’t have to go outside in the snow for your dog to get sufficient exercise, this can be done indoors by simply playing some interactive games together. If you have enough space in your home, try playing a classic game of fetch. A hallway can do the job.
If you have a flight of stairs, try tossing their favorite toy to the top for them to fetch, which can burn even more calories. Some dogs also love to catch bubbles, get a pet-friendly variety and watch how easy of a game it becomes. Get creative with your surroundings and you’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll both have!
2. Brain Activities & Food Puzzles to Keep Your Dog Active
While dogs get their physical exercise, it’s important to keep their brain active as well. A food puzzle with a variety of shapes and steps can get their problem-solving skills working which encourages them to stay mentally sharp as they age. Whether it’s a puzzle, treat dispenser, or ball launcher, these activities help dogs stay engaged and ensures they don’t get bored. You can also hide treats or toys around the house for a scavenger hunt. If you work from home, this is an especially favorable idea to keep them occupied for a long time.
If you have the space in your home to dedicate an entire room to your dog, then designing the environment of a playroom can be easy. If you don’t have a room to give them, you can gate off a section of a room just for your dog. While owning a dog is already expensive in itself, look for some ways to make extra money with your dog to fund a project like this with walking services, social media, and even photography. If you’re already looking to pet-proof other parts of your house or build a dog fence, refinancing can provide you with the extra cash to tackle all projects at once. Whether this resource makes it easier to pay your bills each month or gets you cash out of your equity, you’ll find bigger costs a lot easier to manage on top of necessary dog expenses.
In your dog’s playroom, you can include toys and puzzles, a water bowl, a cozy dog bed, a TV or radio, and a pet camera to talk to them through. You can even try setting up an agility course with blankets, broomsticks, hula hoops, and more to navigate through. If you have hardwood floors, playmats can come in handy to avoid scratching or skidding on the floors. Not only does having their own room allow a specific place for play, but it can be their own safe place to escape to whenever they’d like. Plus, play dates with other dogs can be here too!
Dog classes can be a great way to get out for some socialization with your dog regularly. Find out what type of classes are available in your area. Many shelters and communities offer activities for all kinds of dogs including agility classes, flyball, and even doggie swimming pools. If you have an incredibly active dog, indoor agility classes are probably the most beneficial. If you have a dog that loves the water, try swimming classes. Traditional dog training classes can also be the perfect opportunity to get some exercise while socializing with different dogs.
On your next shopping trip at a pet-friendly store, take your dog with you! This allows them to have the chance to get out of the house as well. Rather than staying cooped up at home or in their crate most days, they can enjoy all the interesting sights and smells while burning off some extra calories. Use the time to improve their socialization skills in new environments, too! You may even meet another dog owner who’s interested in having dog play dates.
When the weather permits, it’s best to get outside for their physical and mental health in order to keep your dog active. Keep in mind as you’re outside in the colder temperatures these winter safety tips for dogs and you’ll always be making the most out of their experience. When you’re at home, you’re still encouraging a fun place for them to stay active in while having some bonding time together.
Daily exercise is important for dogs at all ages, even if they need some support with their joint mobility. With a little creativity, you’ll be beating the winter blues and keeping their tail wagging before you know it.