Dog Friendly Activities To Keep Your Pooch Active This Winter

It's easy to let your dog become a couch potato during the winter months. After all, it's cold outside and there's not as much daylight. However, just because it's chilly doesn't mean your dog can't get some exercise. In fact, there are plenty of fun and dog friendly activities both you and your dog can enjoy. Spoiler alert, if you are a fur parent to large dog breeds you may find yourself trying one of these activities soon!

How to Keep Your Dog Active - dog sizes

Dog Friendly Activities You Can Try This Winter

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Here are some cool ways to exercise your dog this winter as shared by Johnna Devereaux (Clinical Pet Nutritionist).

1. Walk with a Weighted Vest:

How to Keep Your Dog Active - Weighted Vest
  • These vests fit over the back of the dog and around their abdominal region and have pockets on either side that should be securely fit at their ribcage (buy the appropriate size—pockets should never be able to “slap” against the body and should be secured properly)
  • These vests are usually used for tactical training of big dog breeds but they are available for small breeds too.
  • begin slowly introducing bags of sand or water, evenly distributed across both sides of the body in the appropriate vest pockets.
  • Increase weight that your dog is asked to carry but never exceed 10% of your dog’s body weight (if unsure as to their weight--get them weighed!)
  • Be sure to decrease the length of the walks/hikes as your dog builds stamina and on especially cold days—keep the distance short to avoid overexerting your dog

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2. Try a Dog Friendly Sport - Joring!

Large Dog Breeds - Dog Friendly Activities
  • Joring is a fun way to incorporate our dog’s innate drive to work and pull with exercise!
  • Perfect for active large dog breeds
  • This sport begins with an appropriate harness that the dog wears and allows him to pull his human on sled, skis, etc.
  • It does take practice but it is loads of fun!
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3. Find a dog friendly indoor agility course or class!

  • There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your dog engage their brain while also engaging their body!
  • Let your dog learn to weave, jump, and balance his way through an agility course and you can forget any additional exercise for the day!
  • Be forewarned—this is so addicting that you may find it as a year-round source of exercise and bonding between you and your pet.

4. When in doubt stay indoors and walk on a dog friendly treadmill!

  • Most dogs take very easily to walking on a treadmill with a little bit of help via some treats and patience.
  • Be sure to keep the pace at a realistic walking pace and remember—most dogs stop and sniff when walking outside—so a straight non-stop walk on a treadmill should be of a shorter duration than the usual walks outside.
  • These recommendations are for dogs in good health, without physical limitations and have a base line capacity for physical exercise. If you have any concerns, please contact your veterinarian before beginning any new exercise program with your dog.

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Indoor Activities You Can Try With Your Dog

There are plenty of fun indoor activities you can do with your dog to keep them active and entertained. Here are a few ideas:

-Frisbee: This game is great for dogs of all sizes and can be played indoors or outdoors.

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-Tug-of-War: A classic game that can be played with a rope, toy, or your clothing. Just make sure to let your dog win every once in a while.

-Kong Toy: Stuff a Kong toy with peanut butter, cheese, or other treats and watch your dog go to town trying to get the food out.

-Hide and Seek: Hide treats or toys around the house for your dog to find.

-Puzzle Toys: These toys are filled with treats or food and require your dog to figure out how to get the food out. This can keep them entertained for hours.

-Trick Training: Teach your dog a few tricks and keep them entertained and mentally stimulated.

No matter what you do to keep your dog active this winter, just make sure to be safe and have fun. And don't forget to reward your furry friend with lots of love and belly rubs for all their hard work!

Contributor

Dana Humphrey on behalf of Johnna Devereaux (Clinical Pet Nutritionist), Founder of Fetch RI

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