When the weather is warm outside and the sun is shining, it’s easy and fun for dog owners and their pets to get outside and play. However, once the weather gets cold and dreary, it’s easy to sit at home and lay around. It’s important for a dog to get a little bit of exercise every day, even during the wintertime. Daily exercise is extremely important to the mental and physical health of your dog.
The following are some tips from a veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ to keep your dog active during the winter:
- Play a game: A game is a great method to keep your dog’s senses sharp and heart pounding. Hide and seek is an ideal way to get your dog moving. You can hide a treat, or give the dog a treat to get him or her distracted and then hide. It’s best if he comes to find you. The dog will get tuckered out running around trying to find you. Hiding dinner is also a great way for a dog to use his or her nose. You can create an obstacle course for the dog to go through to get his or her dinner. Better yet, hide part of his or her dinner in a toy. As your dog plays with the toy and shakes it around, dinner can fall out.
- Do indoor versions of normal activities: How can you do normal activities when you’re not outside? If you normally go on walks outside, you can train your dog to walk on a treadmill that is made specifically for animals. If you don’t have a doggie treadmill, place the dog on a human treadmill. Start slowly and stand in front of the treadmill with a treat. Just make sure your dog is always supervised at all times. Similarly, if you typically play catch outside to get your dog moving, you can sign him up for a fly ball class indoors during the winter. In addition to staying fit during the class, your dog will also be able to socialize, which is important for every dog.
- Train your dog: Take advantage of the time spent indoors to train your dog. It’s also a great time to practice targeting, which is the process of teaching your dog to focus only on you. This can be helpful when another dog distracts your pet when you’re out on a walk, for example. Though training may not provide extensive cardio exercise for your pet, it will challenge him in different ways as he strives to complete each task. By practicing commands and targeting, you can help prevent pet boredom and make sure your dog feels a sense of accomplishment.
If you’re up to it, you can always take your dog outside to run, walk or play in the cold. Playing in the snow will tire your dog out quickly and will be good for his muscles, mind and heart. To learn more about keeping your dog fit in the winter, speak with a skilled veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, by visiting Newkirk Family Veterinarians.