When the winter months set in, a lot of concerns are raised in regards with the health and the care that we have for our dogs. There is the problem of the added risks that they face during this period. Then there is the fact that they hate going outside at this point. Another thing that you should not forget is the fact that their nutritional needs changes during this critical period.
Hazards During Winter- There are several things that you have to worry about for your dog’s sake during winter. First of all ice and snow can pose threats to them. While their paws are insulated, that is really not enough in order to handle constant contact with freezing surfaces. The colder temperature can create complications in the way that you take care of your pets. You have to make sure that they have access to a warm shelter. The best option is to let them stay indoors all the time, but if that is not possible then just make sure that they have access to a warm shelter. Hypothermia is one of the biggest threats to dogs that are outdoors during winter months. Dogs that are showing symptoms of this condition must have immediate medical attention right away. If you live near bodies of water that freezes during winter then make sure that your dogs stay away from those. There is the danger that they might fall through thin ice. Antifreeze chemicals which are more commonly used during the winter months are also a major threat to the safety of your dogs. This chemical is very toxic and even a small amount can kill them.
Changing Needs- The needs of your pet will also undergo a significant change during the cold winter months. First of all their diet has to be altered so that they can cope with the colder temperature. They might need more fat to give them more insulation. For the dogs that have very little fur then you might have to give them some clothing so they can handle the winter cold a lot better.
Winter Exercises for Your Dogs- Your dog needs to have some exercise no matter what time of the year it is. The problem starts during the cold winter periods when they tend to become lazy and they hate going out. It is a must that you keep your dogs indoors but it is also a must to bring them out everyday in order to let them get some much needed exercise and there are few homes that have enough space to give a thorough exercise to dogs. It might take some work on your part since they really wouldn’t want to budge from the warmth and comfort of the indoors. This is where you can test your skills in handling your dogs.
Some Tips For Exercising Your Dog- There are some things that you can bear in mind when you are determined to give some winter exercise to your dog. First of all if you notice that they are really not willing to make that much when it comes to body movements then you can use some treats in order to entice them further. You can use rewards for every successful tasks that they complete. You can also take them to some wooded location. There are many new and interesting sights, sounds and scents there that should make them forget about the cold.
Exercising Indoors- In the end you might just come to the conclusion that it is really better for both your dog and yourself to stay indoors during the winter months. Ideally exercising your pet should always be done outdoors, but in some cases that might not be possible. So if your pet is of the smaller breeds then you can let them have their workout indoors.
The Laser Pointer Game- This is perfect for the lazy owner. Normally cats are the ones who go crazy chasing that point of light but some dogs can get infected with it as well. Best thing about it is that you can just lie around while twisting and pointing the light.
Hide and Seek- You need another person in order to play this game which can really give a good workout to your dog. You and the other person must go at two different locations in the house. The best spot should be separated by stairs. What you do then is to take turns calling your dog. Each time your pet finds you give him a treat. When the other person calls to your dog move to a different spot so your pet needs to search for you all over again.
Bubble Biting- Dogs go insane with bubbles. For maximum effect setup your bubble maker near a fan that can blow the most amount of bubbles. Just be sure that you are going to use pet friendly bubbles. You can buy that at any pet shop.
Outdoor Exercises for Your Dogs During Winter- Letting them exercise indoors during winter time is not really going to do your dogs much good if they are of the larger breeds. What they need is some good romping around in the cold winter air. There are several excellent exercises that you can let them do in the cold. Before you do that however you have got to make sure that you give your dogs the proper protection so they can face the winter climate. One of the best way to ensure that they can stay safe is to get some winter footwear for them. These resemble little boots that can keep their paws from freezing. If they don’t like having something on their paws then you can just use some special waxes that are used on sled dogs in Alaska. Dressing dogs is really a necessary thing on some locations. If your pet does not have enough coat to protect then you must give them some aid for warm protection. Coats that are made from fleece are the best options.
Fetch- This is perhaps the most classic game that you can play with your dog whether it’s winter or not. This can give a really good workout to your dogs without putting too much of a strain on you. If you are going to for it on a snow covered field, then you better give your dogs some protection on their feet against freezing. Also you might want to use a bright colored object to throw away instead of a heavy ball which might get buried in the snow.
Dog Sledding- This is an excellent method of exercising the larger dog breeds. You can research online for some good dog sleds. You have to ask around in your area for some area for trainers who do this kind of training for dogs. If your dog does not take to it then don’t force them.
Skijoring- This is a new kind of outdoor winter exercise for dogs that is gaining popularity today. This is a combination of dog sledding and cross country skiing. You need to wear skis and have a harness tied to your dog. This can also be done with medium sized breeds as the strain is not as great with sledding. Before you try this however make sure that you dog is receptive to your commands. You don’t want to end up in a ditch do you?