As temperatures drop over the winter, it’s only natural for people to start spending more time indoors. However, this shouldn’t be the case for our dogs, who should be getting plenty of exercise regardless of the dropping temperatures. Unless you have lots of room for your pet to run around indoors, it’s important that you’re still taking your dog on outdoor adventures when possible. The physical activity is important but the mental stimulation is equally important for overall health. Keep reading for ideas on the different types of activities you can do with your pet in the winter.
Take a hike
While nothing beats a summer trek through the mountains with your best four-legged pal, hiking is one of the great year-round activities you can do with your dog regardless of the season. If temperatures dip below your comfort levels, make sure to double up on the outerwear, and that goes for your dog, too. Insulated jackets are a great way to help your dog regulate his temperature and booties are good to keep on hand when hiking icy or snowy terrain. Since it takes more energy to keep their bodies warm in colder weather, make sure to pack nutritious snacks to fuel their bodies, too. ORIJEN® High Protein Dog Biscuits make a great mid-hike treat.
If the thought of taking a hike in below freezing temperatures makes you queasy, try finding an indoor dog playground where your dog can burn up some energy. Indoor playgrounds are becoming more and more popular in colder cities, and offer a great alternative for those living in urban centers where going on a hike in sub-zero conditions just isn’t possible. Make sure to bring bags for those inevitable accidents and ensure your dog’s medical records are current as most of these businesses require all four-legged patrons to be up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Invest in enrichment toys
Too cold to head outdoors and no indoor playground near you? Invest in different enrichment toys to keep your dog stimulated! There are special bowls, puzzles, and games you can purchase that will keep your dog mentally exercised. Alternatively, make them yourself! An empty egg carton with a couple treats hidden inside will force your pet to find the hidden treat using only his senses.
Plan a playdate
Get together with friends or family with dogs of their own and let your dogs go wild! The colder weather might call for shorter outdoor playdates, but the dogs will tire themselves out more when playing with their friends. Alternatively, plan an indoor playdate. Your dogs will enjoy the extra four-legged company while you and your human pals can catch up over coffee.
The winter blues can make it challenging to keep your dog stimulated, both mentally and physically, but it’s important not to let inclement weather get in the way of regular activity. Whatever activities you choose for your dog, make sure you and your furry pal are dressed for the weather, fueled with nutritious food, and most importantly, having fun.