Winter doesn’t have to be a time when you or your dog hibernate or become inactive, no matter how cold it might get outside. It’s important for your pooch’s mental and physical health to burn off excess energy and calories.
Here are 7 exercise ideas for some winter workouts with your buddy in the cooler months. But before you start any outdoor winter exercises, make sure you get your dog checked by a vet to assess their ability to tolerate cold weather. That will help you to choose the most appropriate ways of keeping them active.
1. Go for shorter but more frequent walks
Don’t abandon walking your dog completely during the winter months. Go for shorter walks more often instead, but you should avoid the coldest parts of the day.
It’s important to understand how your breed of dog will feel the cold. Short dogs, those with light coats and older canines will be more affected by it. Make sure you dress your pooch appropriately if necessary. For example, you could put dog booties on its paws or a dry sweater on its body. If you don’t use booties, make sure you clean your dog’s paws with a warm wet cloth after your winter walk.
2. Use a treadmill
If the weather outside is really bad, try exercising your buddy on a pet or human treadmill instead. Make sure you set an appropriate speed and that you give your dog time to get used to it. Start slowly and stand at the end of the treadmill with a treat to encourage them. You can gradually build up the speed and duration of this exercise activity over time.
3. Go to indoor agility classes
Try and find indoor agility classes that may be on offer in your area. These classes will usually have obstacle courses that your buddy will enjoy exploring.
4. Play hide and seek indoors
Dogs are naturally inquisitive and playing games of hide and seek with them is a great way to keep them both mentally and physically stimulated.
5. Create an indoor obstacle course
This is an especially effective exercise routine if you do it in conjunction with mealtimes. Make your buddy work for their food by creating an obstacle course to get to it.
6. Visit an indoor dog aquatic centre
If you have a dog that loves swimming, there are a heap of indoor dog aquatic centres and heated hydrotherapy pools popping up all over Australia. Just google ‘dog hydrotherapy’ in your state and area for a comprehensive list of centres near you.
7. Go skijoring
If you have a snow-loving dog breed (like an Old English Sheepdog, a Pomeranian, a Saint Bernard or a Samoyed), you could even try skijoring. This is where you wear skis and your buddy pulls you through the snow! – Check out the Australian Ski Jor Club on Facebook for more info.
Here at the DOOG, we've got all thee gear you need to enjoy some fun winter activities with your dog including dog walking bags and belts, fun fetch toys for the pool and reflective collars, leashes and harnesses for night walks.