7 Ways to Keep Your Dog Active During Winter
by Hannah Scholtes
When winter rolls around, it can feel like you and your pet are cooped up inside for days on end. Your pet is probably looking at you, thinking, Come ON, Mom, I’m BORED. We all know that the long, bleak months can be inconvenient for exercise, especially in stormy areas. Sometimes the weather is too dreary to even go outside. In times like these, we’ve got you covered! Check out these seven creative ways to ensure that your pup remains active and healthy this winter. Likewise, if you need some winter suggestions for your pet door, check out our cold weather tips.
#1: Indoor Fetch
This may seem like too simple of an exercise, but playing fetch is an easy way to motivate your dog to participate in fun, cardiovascular activity. As long as you have a decent amount of room in a section of your house, fetch is the perfect game for you. Find your dog’s favorite toy or ball and throw it as far as you can, allowing him/her to sprint after it. Once the toy or ball is brought back, practice commands such as “sit”, “drop it”, and “wait”. Not only does this activity promote physical activity, but it provides mental stimulation for your pup as well. Repeat the process until your pet is worn out and fully exercised.
#2: Doggie Stairs
If you have a set in your house or garage, running stairs with your dog can be a great solution to getting that heart rate up and pumping. This exercise yields two options. First, you could participate with your dog, jogging up and down the stairs in intervals that are challenging yet doable. This provides physical activity for you as well, which is a beneficial bonus! The second option focuses on training and cardio. Practice teaching your dog to “wait” at the bottom of the stairs. Once you have reached the top, instruct him/her to “come”, instructing them to run up the stairs. Repeat this process until it seems like the adequate amount of exercise time for your breed.
#3: Teaching New Tricks
One of the best ways to keep your pet active and stimulated is to teach them new tricks! Dogs love to learn—why not teach them something witty! Tricks such as rolling over, catching toys/balls in their mouths, or balancing treats/toys on their noses are all activities that ensure physical and mental exercise. Not only is this beneficial for them, but it can also be helpful to you! Teach your pet how to fetch certain items in the house or put their toys away. Whatever the case, there is always something new that your pet will love to learn!
#4: Play Dates
Play dates basically guarantee physical exercise. Dogs love to chase, wrestle, and play tug-of-war with each other for hours. This does not require much participation from you—all you need to do is call up a friend and ask if their pup is in need of some dog-to-dog interaction! Just make sure that they play nicely! Doggie daycare is also a good alternative to play dates, especially if you are busy with work, errands, etc.
#5: Weather Permitting Walks/Jogs
If the weather permits, a walk or jog is still one of the best ways to promote activity and stimulation for you and your pet. There is no doubt that dogs crave the outdoors, and there is no better form of exercise than that which occurs outside. For colder places, it is recommended to go for a walk or jog during the warmest part of the day to ensure that your pet’s paws are not as sensitive to the ground temperature. Most dogs can endure colder temperatures than we can, but if your pet is particularly sensitive to the cold, a dog sweater is recommended!
#6: Snow Many Activities!
For those in mountainous areas, playing in the snow can provide extreme joy for your dog, especially if they are a breed built for the white wonderland! Just make sure to have the right apparel for you and your dog (if their breed requires it). From snowball fights to skijoring, there is a multitude of activities fit for your canine companion. Dogs love to chase things, so why not have them participate in a friendly snowball fight? Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are activities that you can share with your pet, so long as they are fit and equipped for the weather conditions. Another popular activity is skijoring, which is similar to dog sledding. Instead of pulling the sled, however, the dog pulls you on skis!
Even if your pet is not as physically active or able to perform these snow activities, using a Frisbee in the snow is always a quick and classic way to get your dog moving! Frisbees are ideal in the snow because they are not as likely to sink in under a layer of snow if your dog does not catch it.
#7 Insulating Pet Doors
Having an accessible pet door in your home is the easiest way to promote your dog’s exercise. The freedom to access the outdoors is crucial for overall health and well-being, especially if you are away from home during the day. The biggest problem with this, though, is ensuring that the pet door does not compromise the warmth of your home, especially in areas that experience severe winter weather. When energy efficiency and insulation are at stake, there is only one pet door to turn to: the Endura Flap. Whether you need a pet door for doors or walls, or need an aluminum sliding glass dog door or vinyl sliding glass dog door for severe weather, the Endura Flap products are designed to resist extreme weather and keep your home at a regulated, comfortable temperature. You can also add weatherstripping to your door to give it more insulation value. Giving your dog the gift of freedom is a main contributor to the promotion of physical activity, which is vital for keeping them exercised during the winter months.