With the cold, snowy weather here in our area, we tend to stop exercising outside and start getting our workouts in at the gym or inside the comfort of our warm homes. Oftentimes our dogs begin to lose out on that exercise altogether. Here are some things you can do with your dog this winter to keep them healthy and in shape.
Have your dog run up and down the stairs If you have steps in your home, it’s a great way to tire out your dog. Playing fetch on the stairs is a great way to work different muscles in their body and it creates an extra level of difficulty for them. They should be tuckered out in no time.
Use a laser pointer Laser pointers can cost just a few dollars and it makes for a really fun activity for your pet. Just shine it on the floor, move it back and forth and watch your pet go crazy! Your dog (or cat) will get a great workout trying to catch the mysterious red dot. To avoid damage to the retinas, be careful to avoid shining the laser directly into your pet’s eyes.
*WARNING: Be sure to use your best judgement when playing with a laser pointer with your dog. It can be stressful for some dogs if they don’t ever succeed in catching the elusive red dot, and some dogs can develop a sort of “dog OCD.” If your dog begins to exhibit signs of stress while playing, you should probably stick with the other activities.
Make your dog work for his treats Hide some tasty training treats around the house-behind doors, under tables, under rugs, etc. Not only will he be using his senses to track down the treats, but he’ll physically tire out in the process. You can also use treat-dispensing toys. Kongs, for example, are great. Try putting some peanut butter in it and freezing it. Depending on your dog, the fun could last up to an hour or so.
Play keep-away and fetch Engaging your dog in games like this keeps them active, engaged, and helps release pent up energy. Not only is this activity fun for the dog, but it’s fun for the owner too!
There are many more ways to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise when you don’t feel like braving the cold weather but these are some good options! Give them a try and your pets will thank you for it!