Winter is coming, and with it comes the dreaded question of how to exercise your dog during the cold months. With snow on the ground and icy sidewalks, it can be hard to get your canine friends out for a run or walk at the dog park to get fresh air, although some dog breeds absolutely love the frigid temperature and would even want to skijor.
But if your furry friend can’t stand the freezing cold and prefers to stay home, don’t fret! There are plenty of methods you can keep them healthy during the winter months without venturing out. In this article, we will share with you ten ways to keep your pup moving indoors to provide them with the physical and mental stimulation they need all winter long!
Dogs Can Still
Go Outside in Winter!
Before we get into all the fun ways to exercise your dog indoors, it’s important to note that you can still take them outside in winter! You’ll just need to get them some cold-weather gear for doggies to keep them safe and comfortable.
Tips to Keeping Dogs Protected in Cold Weather While Exercising Outdoors
1. Use Canine Booties
Canine snow booties are a great way to keep your dog’s paws protected from the cold and ice melt when going outside in winter. And they work just like human booties but are made for dogs, with rubber soles to keep your pup from slipping and sliding all over while walking on ice or snow. Dog booties are readily available at your local pet store or online, and they are inexpensive as well.
2. Put a Canine Winter Coat on Your Dog
A canine winter coat will help keep your dog warm and dry when out in the cold, ultimately preventing any potential discomfort and hypothermia. They usually are made of fleece or similar material that is easily washable and can provide complete coverage from head to tail with a zip-up closure on top.
3. Avoid Walking on a Sheet of Ice or Patches on top of the Sidewalk or Street
Don’t let your dog walk on icy patches on streets and sidewalks because it can be slippery and dangerous for them. Also, avoid letting them wander on frozen water at all costs, or you could end up with a wet and cold pup that might need immediate medical attention.
4. Wash Your Dog’s Paws After the Walk
5. Check the Weather Forecast
Indoor Exercise in Winter
1. Play Fetch in Your Living Room or Bedroom
Get an indoor tennis ball launcher and some softballs, or use their favorite toy for fun without going outside! The best part is that you can throw it all over the house, so they get exercise running around after their toy.
You could even try making it more challenging by launching or throwing the ball or toy into another room like the bathroom or kitchen when they’re not looking to really mix things up.
2. Hide Treats Around Your House
This game is also called a scavenger hunt. If your dog likes scent games, brain games and loves searching and hunting for their treats, this will be great for them. Not only does it get your dog’s nose and brain working, but it also allows them to get up and move around while searching.
Just fill up a few bowls with treats and place them randomly throughout different rooms of your home for your dog to find. You can also try hiding them under furniture or inside closets for extra difficulty.
3. Play Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is great because this game doesn’t require any equipment, unlike the other two suggestions! It’ll take some work to hide all around the house, but it’ll be worth it when you hear how excited they get about finding you again.
All you have to do is have them sit still, sneak around the house, hide, and then call their name. When your dog finds you, reward them a treat for being such a great finder!
4. Play Tug of War
Tug of war is perfect for getting your dog’s brain working and can be a great way to get their energy out. Watching your pup wrestle with you will leave you laughing and feeling accomplished at the same time! Remember to alternate who’s winning so that they don’t lose interest in the game.
And be sure that they understand the basic rules. For instance, they can’t mouth on your hands, must let go of the toy whenever you ask them to, and they can only grab the toy after you permit them. Also, make sure to use a rope toy specifically designed for this game, and be careful about letting dogs play it around small children who are likely to pull at objects excitedly.
5. Create Indoor Obstacle Courses
Set up some obstacles throughout your home that require crawling under or jumping over. Letting your dog conquer the course can challenge their brain and provide them the mental stimulation they need. Plus, that can also get them to use different muscle groups!
You can create an obstacle course at home by putting together some household items, like tables, chairs, pillows, and boxes and layering towels or blankets over each other for ramps and diving mats as jumps. If any part of the course is too high, you can put a box next to it so they can jump up on and over, and most importantly, be sure that everything is stable!
6. Gets Your Dog Runs on a Treadmill
Most dog owners have been getting their dogs to exercise in cold weather by using dog treadmills. While it is not as ideal as actually being able to run around freely in a dog park, a dog treadmill can be an effective option to tire your pup out, provide them the exercise they need, and help with weight loss.
Dogs can get plenty of exercise on a treadmill, and you don’t have to worry about too much mess or injury. It puts minimal strain on joints because your canine will feel a nice cushioned surface under their paws, and they use the same muscles that running would. Find one that is the right size for your dog and has settings for slow, medium-paced walks or runs.
7. Obedience Training and Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Since it’s too cold for your dog to go outside, why not use this opportunity to sharpen your dog’s basic obedience skills or teach them some new tricks.
Obedience training is a great way to build your relationship with your canine and make sure they’re well behaved in public. Plus, it can keep them mentally stimulated while they are stuck indoors! Once your dog masters a particular command, try teaching them something more challenging like “sit-ups” or “high five.”
And remember to use treats as rewards during training sessions because this will give them an incentive to work hard and listen!
8. Indoor Dog Park
Bringing your furkid to a dog park or open space where they can play off their leash is excellent for mental and physical stimulation, but it’s not always easy in cold weather.
Luckily, indoor options provide the same benefits as traditional parks, allowing your pooch to socialize with other dogs but with a little more control over the environment. Plus, some of these facilities even provide daycare sessions, grooming services, and training classes!
9. Doggie Daycare
Another option is to take your fido to doggie daycare, which is especially beneficial for dogs who need more socialization and mental stimulation than their home environment provides.
Doggie daycare is also fantastic for owners because it gives them peace of mind, in which they can leave their pups with professionals while they’re at work! The cost range from $25-50, depends on the location and how many hours or days you want your pet cared for.
10. Organize an Indoor Play Date
If you know your pup knows or has a fur friend they love hanging out with, then it’s time to organize an indoor play date! That will give your dog the chance to run around and play with their friends in a cozy environment while giving you a break you need!
Find out if they are available on that day, figure out what time would be best for both parties, and schedule it accordingly! If there is an issue, reschedule as soon as possible. That way, no one is waiting for too long or stuck inside without plans.
There are a lot of ways you can exercise your dog indoors this winter. From fetch to hide and seek games, the possibilities for indoor play are endless. With just a little bit of creativity and some time spent on research online about other people’s experiences with their pets, we hope that these suggestions will help give you plenty of ideas so that both you and your pup have fun during those cold months ahead!