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5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Active This Winter

We who live on the West Coast of the U.S. are fortunate to not have the severe weather that other states endure. However, our cold temperatures still feel cold to us and our pets and can interfere with our normal routines when it comes to exercise. Rainy days can be a drag also and we found an article with some great suggestions on how to keep your dog active this season.

'Cold weather and short days make it is easy for both us and our pets to get a bit lazy in wintertime. Nevertheless, it's important to stay active to maintain a healthy body condition and optimal health, even when the outdoor temperature drops. Here are a few tips to help you and your dog stay busy this winter.

1. Nice Walk Outdoors Most dogs will enjoy a stroll on a brisk day. However, keep in mind that sidewalks treated with salt or chemicals to prevent ice can be harmful to your dog. Use booties to protect his paws or rinse them off once you come inside to prevent irritation and keep him from ingesting any reside that might be left. Also if your dog has short hair, consider having him wear a coat.

2. Make Mealtime Stimulating There are many ways to stimulate his mind and body without venturing into the winter weather. Offer his meals in a feeding toy rather than just a food bowl. Studies have shown that dogs enjoy their food more when they have to work for it. This will also slow down how fast he eats which can help prevent serious gastrointestinal conditions.

3. Make Treat Time Fun, Too! There are two simple ways to make giving your dog treats more interesting — use a treat-dispensing toy or play a game of hide a seek using the treats. Start by keeping your dog in one room while you hide treats in another. Then let him loose to find all the hidden goodies. Make the treats fairly obvious to find in the beginning so he understands the game, and then work up to more elaborate hiding places.

4. Practice New Dog Tricks Indoors There are countless tricks and training lessons you can do from the comfort of your own home. Start with a simple dog trick like "stay" or "shake," and work up to something more complicated like "roll over." These tricks will result in good behavior and help you and your dog bond. Do try to keep the dog training/trick sessions to about 15 minutes or so. This will ensure it stays fun for everyone.

5. Find an Exciting Outdoor Activity Outdoor activities like hiking, Rally-O or agility training are excellent ways to keep your dog in tip-top shape. Agility classes normally teach your dog to navigate a course of obstacles to jump over and run through, while Rally obedience (or Rally-O) competitions consist of a series of commands you ask your dog to complete. Most cities have training centers that offer a variety of classes that can introduce you and your dog to new challenges… some are even offered indoors!

Stay Attentive Any changes in your dog’s activity can lead to weight gain or weight loss. Monitor his body condition closely and consult your veterinarian about dietary changes if you notice a fluctuation in weight."

We hope that these tips have given you some great ideas on how to keep your dog healthy this season and want to let you know that we are here to help as well. When you are at work or out of town, we are happy to come and visit your pets or stay overnight. When the weather is bad, we can use these tips and additional exercise routines to keep your dogs, cats, or other pets in shape when it is crummy outside.

Happy New Year and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

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