Brrr, it sure is cold out there! This is the time of year my humans need coats almost as thick and fluffy as mine. It’s also a brand new year, and with that come New Year’s Resolutions. My humans always renew their efforts to stay fit and healthy this time of year, and that’s my resolution too! But when the temperature drops, that resolution is extra challenging. As tempting as it can be to let the cold temperatures keep you indoors (and snuggled up with your favorite furry friend), don’t let your pup’s exercise routine fade away. Just like it’s important for humans to keep moving in spite of the weather, it’s important for dogs too. So we’ve put together a few helpful tips and tricks to make sure your mutt stays healthy all winter long.
You Dress for the Weather, So Should Your Dog
Trust me, we get cold too! Winter walks are great, but make sure to keep an eye on the thermometer to know when temperatures are getting dangerously low. If that happens, try not to have your pet outside for long periods of time. And if they don’t have heavy fur, invest in a winter coat for an extra layer of protection. It’s also important to protect their paws against sharp ice, street salt and other chemical de-icers. Try a pair of booties with good traction and Velcro straps to keep all of our four feet warm and safe.
Exercise Doesn’t Only Happen Outside
Weather not cooperating for outdoor fun? Make time daily to play with your pet indoors. Games like chase, fetch, and even tug-of-war can help get both you and your dog up and moving. For extra movement, try playing fetch up and down a flight of stairs, or engaging in a game of hide-and-seek, leaving treats for your dog to sniff out to get him moving through every room in the house.
Know What Your Dog Needs
A quick conversation with your vet can give you a good idea of how much activity your pooch needs each day to remain healthy, and there’s no better time to have that conversation than during the winter months, when exercise is more deliberate.
And if you’re all bundled up and ready for that outdoor playtime, don’t forget these essentials:
Bonus: Tip of the Month
We all spend more time indoors during the winter, so it’s important to double-check and make sure your home is pet-proofed! Cold weather means cozy fires in fireplaces and space heaters in particularly chilly rooms, but these seasonal additions can be dangerous for your pets! Make sure the area in front of your fireplace is protected so a curious pup doesn’t get burned, and space heaters are in a safe place where it’s unlikely they can be knocked over. It’s also a good time to double–check your pet’s favorite place to spend the night and make sure it’s warm and dry, away from any drafts.