“How can I keep my dog active in winter?”
For starters, keep going for walks and playing outside with your pup.
Winter gives you some unique opportunities: try setting up a backyard scavenger hunt by hiding kibble or toys in the snow or playing fetch with snowballs. If you find it hard to muster the motivation to bundle up, remember that you’re getting the benefit too. Eighty percent of Americans don’t get enough physical activity, and exercising with your furry friend is a fun way to meet your health goals. Research also shows that regularly walking your dog can lower stress levels, keep weight in check and increase your sense of community. Of course, keep safety in mind: be sure to use pet-safe products to melt snow and ice that won’t hurt your dog’s paws and get pad-protecting booties for walks. If your dog has very short fur, he may also need a coat, but for dogs with long or thick fur, it could actually cause him to overheat. (Check with your vet if you’re not sure.) If it’s truly too cold to go outside, there are plenty of indoor activities to try instead. Food-dispensing toys and interactive or puzzle toys can be a great way to get him moving indoors. Indoor agility courses, found at many dog-training facilities, can also be fun. Feeling creative? Make a DIY course at home with obstacles like boxes and kids’ tunnels. Finally, if your pet is overweight, ask your vet about physical therapy programs. For instance, the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals where I work has indoor underwater treadmill and swimming in the winter to keep them active. For smaller dogs, you can even try this at home, supervised in your bathtub!