It’s that time of year again, winter in Edmonton.
With the winter months comes snow, ice, and cold. That can be challenging for any dog owner, especially if you have smaller breeds or any short coat breed dog that does not do well in the cold.
So, how do you keep your dogs active when the temperature drops?
Unfortunately, dogs are not like bears who can hibernate and sleep until winter is over. They still need to be active, and some dogs can become destructive if they are bored.
While temperatures like -30 degrees celsius mean you can’t take your dog out for a full hour, you can instead take them for short and more frequent walks.
You can go up the street and back, or depending on your dog and their tolerance to cold, try and go around one block. Then, come back, warm up and go around the block again. You can even turn into a challenge where you time yourself and see if you can beat your previous time.
Make sure to protect your dog from the elements as much as possible. Have them wear booties and a jacket (unless you own a breed such as a husky who are bred for and typically love, the cold weather).
As any dog owner knows, getting your dog bundled up to go out in cold weather is a big task all on its own. You could even turn it into a game to see how fast you can get your dog bundled up to go outside.
Canine Enrichment Activities
Do you just hand feed your dog treats? Or just put their food in a bowl?
There are now many options for canine enrichment where your dogs need to work at getting their treats or food out.
One of the best options is putting a treat, peanut butter (100% natural peanut butter only with no xylitol) or some of their food in a Kong and let them work at trying to clean it out. A fun challenge (and great if you have a teething puppy) is to throw it in the freezer beforehand and then give it to them.
Along the same line of a Kong is Tumbler treat balls. You place treats inside the tumbler, and your dog will nudge the ball to tumble around the house to knock treats out. Some dogs will figure it out right away. Other dogs will growl in frustration at it. Some dogs may even take it up the stairs and throw it down the stairs to get the treats out.
Another great canine enrichment tool is a snuffle mat. Snuffle mats look like mini shag rugs that you can hide treats or kibble on. Your dog will sniff and dig around to find the treats or food.
Slow feeders are also a great tool to use if you have a dog that eats too quickly as it forces them to slow down to eat.
There are many different options of toys, puzzles, and games you can get from your local pet store in Edmonton to keep your dog entertained and active around the house during the cold winter months.
If you’re looking for a DYI enrichment game for your dog, you can hide some of their treats or kibble in a muffin tin, place tennis balls on top and let your dog find the treats.
Canine enrichment activities not only provide physical benefits to your dog but also provide much needed mental stimulation as well.
There are many great natural chews for your dog that will be able to keep them busy for hours. Bully sticks are not only a safe and all-natural treat, but they are also great for keeping dogs occupied with getting the dental benefits of them chewing. They are a high protein treat for any dog, and unlike rawhide, they are easily digestible.
Understandably, many people will not give their dogs raw bones in their house. One option can be to block off an area for your dog to enjoy their bone and to lay an old blanket or bed sheet down for them to chew on their bone.
When giving your dog a natural chew or bone, ensure that they don’t bite off a piece that is too large for them. It could be a choking hazard.
While none of these options are going to replace taking your dog out for a walk, they will help your dog burn off some energy, which in return, will help you keep your sanity.
Hire A Dog Walker
Life is busy, and winter can be a tough time. It can be especially tough if you are sensitive to the cold or deal with mobility issues. Hiring a dog walker to take your dog out for you is a great option.
Dog walkers will be able to take your dog out when you are at work or school and give you the peace of mind that they are still getting their activity in during the day.
Dog walkers are also able to adapt on the fly to any harsh weather conditions. That could mean shortening the walks and spending more time inside playing with your pet and giving them lots of love. The services can either be 30 minutes or 60 minutes, depending on what you feel your dog needs.
If you’re interested in a free consultation, book one for you and your dog today.
Just because the temperature drops, doesn’t mean your dog can’t stay active. As we like to say, a tired dog is a happy dog.
Stay warm out there, everyone!