Pets and Exercise: How to Get Enough When it is Cold Outside

golden retriever happily playing in the snow It’s getting cold outside as the holidays loom ahead. While the cozy nights by the fire, holiday food, and snow sports are things everyone looks forward to, the usual game of fetch with our precious pets is a ritual that seems far less appealing than it did during the long warm days of summer.

Appealing or not, those daily jogs around the neighborhood are more than just an enjoyable treat for pets. Daily exercise is essential to every dog’s health and overall wellbeing.

Don’t let the temperature drop freeze up your exercise plans with your four-legged family. Here are some tips to keep the healthy habits on track with your pet’s daily exercise during the chilly months ahead.

5 Tips to Keep Pets Healthy With Exercise During the Cold Seasons

 

Know That Your Dog Can Withstand the Cold More Than You

If you had a thick layer of fur covering your entire body, you wouldn’t mind spending a few extra minutes (or even an hour) in the crisp air or stormy weather. Trust us, your pets don’t mind it either. In fact, if you have a large dog or sporting breed, chances are they love it. Keep in mind that the ideal amount of time to spend outdoors is dependent on your dog’s breed (longer for large dogs and shorter for smaller breeds). However, regardless of size, a general rule of thumb is that most dogs can withstand harsh weather a lot more than their human parents.

Plan Ahead To Make Sure You Have the Right Gear

While your pups have the proper covering for their morning runs or after dinner strolls, you should pay attention to whether or not you have the right gear to withstand the cold and make your walks enjoyable despite the season. If you plan to have the correct winter clothing and water resistant shoes beforehand, you are more likely to continue going on that morning walk. So bundle up and gear up. Trust us, your dogs will thank you.

Yorkie dog playing with bright toy in the snow Choose the Right Toys For Fall and Winter

Chances are your dog loves playing around in the snow just as much as he or she enjoys the grass. However, your go-to dog toys may need an upgrade. If you usually play with a ball, it can easily sink and get lost in the snow. The same problem occurs with small toys that are easily lost, and cloth toys that can be ruined with too much water. Aim for a bright and light toy to accompany your quality time in the park. A bright yellow or neon Frisbee is easily seen amidst the backdrop of white snow and is light enough to stay on top of the softest fresh powder.

Take Up a New Winter Sport

Taking up a new cold-weather sport that can include pets will take the dread out of exercise and keep things exciting for yourself and your pets. Sledding with your dogs, hiking, and snowshoeing (as long as you have packed snow) are healthy exercise options for your canine companions. Who knows, you may even find a new favorite hobby.

If You Have to Keep Pets Inside, Make it Count

If you have a small breed pet or an elderly dog that requires more time indoors in cold weather there are ways to keep up with their exercise despite being cooped up inside. Try a few games of tug of war or jaunts up and down the stairs. If you have a large open area inside your home, fetch and other games with soft toys can also keep things active.

Remember, making pet health a priority and keeping pets happy with daily exercise is one of the best habits that all parents can make this season. These exercise tips, combined with a commitment to their health, is a recipe for active and healthy pets during the fall and winter. For more tips on ways to keep pets healthy during the cold season, take a look at these 5 tips for pet safety during the fall and winter months. 

 

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