Keeping Your Dog Happy in the Winter
If the ground isn’t white outside where you live, either you hit the location jackpot, or the snow just hasn’t hit you yet. If you did hit the location jackpot, then you need not read on, as you can take your pup outside all year long. The rest of us, though, are nearing that frigid season known as winter. When the cold gets bitter and the coats are never warm enough, we all tend to spend excess time inside the house, but what does that do to our four-legged friends?
Most dog owners have plenty to vent about throughout the coldest time of the year. From chewed shoes and accidents in the house, to crazy behavior and weight gain, our favorite furbabies are at risk for becoming bored, lazy, a tad bit neglected, and more often than not - naughty. But what’s a dog-lover to do?
When the temperatures plummet and the wind chill isn’t kind, it is not responsible to leave your dog outside. This leaves you with quite the predicament, you need to figure out:
How to Keep Your Dog Happy in the Winter
Avoid letting your dog track in the salt or other chemicals used to de-ice the walkways outside.
Yes, you still need to walk your pup on cold days. The walks may not be longer than 45 seconds due to the weather, but that time is enough for those sweet paws to step on chemicals that could potentially hurt your dog. You can invest in booties - or simply wipe your dog’s paws off quickly before letting him in the house. Keeping him healthy is definitely part of keeping him happy!
Invest in a Feeding Toy
Making your pup work for his food will help him burn energy and stimulate his mind. This simple switch from scooping the food into his bowl and, instead, putting it into a toy he has to ‘figure out’ will keep him from overeating, eating too quickly, and becoming lazy.
Create a Run Path
Pick a hallway or set up a long area that can be gated or closed off. (A stairway leading to a hallway is ideal - or even an empty garage.). Grab a tennis ball and start throwing! Doing this off and on for 15-20 minutes at a time will provide the exercise your dog needs so he doesn’t go stir crazy waiting for spring.
Consider a Daycare
If your dog is well-trained and a great doggy daycare is within budget, consider letting your pup go and play a few hours each week. He’ll make dog-friends and burn off energy.
Dogs are smart and their minds need to be challenged. They become ‘naughty’ when they aren’t having their needs met. You can work on new tricks or even bring a trainer in to work on any problem behaviors your pup has developed.
Create an Indoor Bathroom
This is only necessary if your dog refuses to 'go potty' in the snow. You can train your dog to use a pee-pad if needed.
Go Outside Whenever Possible
Bundle up -yourself and your dog- and head outside for some Vitamin D whenever the weather permits. Plan a hike, head to a local dog park, or just play fetch in the snow. Be careful letting your pup run off-leash if he is not trained well. The snow can make it a bit more challenging to catch him if he sprints off to explore!