Don’t let your dog’s winter exercise routine get stale
Dogs were not meant to live out lives of lazy indoor naps and food that comes to them. They are descended from wolves and need to keep their blood pumping every day to stay healthy and fit. The winter snows can limit what activities are available to your pup, but don’t miss some great opportunities for outdoor winter exercise before the spring comes.
This is the most obvious one. You’re probably already doing this twice a day and it may be a bit stale. What’s good about walking is it requires almost no forethought, special equipment (besides a leash) or budget. Make sure your dog has a coat and boots if nature didn’t provide it with the features needed for a Toronto winter. Plan to include plenty of walking each winter, but don’t let it be your dog’s only form of exercise.
We’re not looking to endorse any particular indoor dog swimming business, but a quick Google search will show several year-round places in the Toronto area. Swimming is a great full-body exercise with low impact on joints and your dog will appreciate the change of pace. Wintertime swimming for dogs is a special treat that nature didn’t intend.
This isn’t merely walking quickly. Try mixing it up by alternating a runners pace with a walkers stroll through a park with well-groomed walkways. This will be excellent exercise for dog and owner alike.
If you have access to some deep virgin snow you can pack in some quick, intense exercise by tossing a brightly-colored object into the thick of it. Your dog will naturally choose a fast pace and will have more of a challenge by wading through the deep snow. As with walking and running, make sure your dog is wearing any winter gear that it needs and can warm up quickly at home.
Try moving your dog up and down a set of stairs that you can freely access, be it indoors or outdoors. While younger dogs will need to slow down to head downstairs, especially if they don’t deal with them at home, most older dogs are experienced enough to run full-tilt down a set of steps. If your dog requires boots for outdoor weather, make sure there’s no traction issue to avoid causing your pup to tumble.