Winter has definitely arrived here in Alberta; December has come with chilling temperatures and snow! That being said it is not always easy to take your dog for a walk when it is cold. It would be easier to stay inside, but we want to remember that keeping your dog active and healthy in the winter is important. Here are a few ways you can keep your furry friends moving even during the colder months.Short walks. If you decide to take your dog for a walk when it is colder, we want to keep in mind the length of our walk and the overall temperature outside. We also need to consider if there is salt on the sidewalks as this can irritate their paws. Booties can be provided (if your dog will keep them on) or you can simply wash your dog’s paws after your walk.
Meals and Treats. You can give your dog their meal or treats in a toy such as a Kong instead of their bowl. This can help them to experience new ways of eating their food, and this can give hours of entertainment for your pet. If your dog eats their food too fast, this is a nice way to encourage them to eat slower as well.
You can also take your dog’s favourite treat and play hide and seek. Start slowly and hide the treat in obvious places, and as your dog gets more comfortable with the game, you can hide the treats in more difficult places. This is a great way to get your dog thinking and moving, and you don’t have to leave the warmth of your own home. My dog Layla loves the treat hide and seek game. Her favourite is when you hide cucumber around the house, and she has to find it!
Teaching your dog new tricks. Learning new tricks is great for your dog and a fun activity for both of you. Such tricks as roll over, putting toys in the toy box and even jumping through a hoop. These are a great way to keep your dog active, thinking and this makes you and your furry companion’s relationship stronger. All dogs need mental as well as physical exercise. This will keep your dog happy, healthy and can prevent boredom.
Just as we at times get ‘cabin fever’ dogs can feel cooped up inside too. We can even take our dog to an inside agility arena or to a friend or family’s house so they can play with other dogs. At the end of the day, there are many ways that you can keep your dog happy, healthy and active during the cold winter months.
Written by Madison Vandenberg ACA