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dog playing with rope toy

How Do I Keep My Dog Fit During the Winter Months?

As fall sets in, some Canadian dog owners may be wondering how their dog will get the exercise he needs in increasingly cold conditions. Your usual walks and trips to the park may not always be an option in the late fall and winter, but there are still some things you can do to keep your pet moving during the colder half of the year.

1. Protect Him from the Cold

You can and should still take your dog out for exercise in the winter – it just requires a little more prep work. Invest in some sort of vest or coat to keep him warm in low temperatures. Check the weather before you leave to make sure there are no storms coming and that it isn’t too cold for you or your dog. If everything seems okay, head out and enjoy your favourite park or trail. You’ll keep your dog active and spry, and you’ll probably have more of the space to yourself, too.

2. Put Him on a Treadmill

If walking outside is not an option, you can do what many humans do in those conditions: turn to treadmills. There are specialized treadmills just for dogs that will give your fur kid a workout optimized for canine needs, but they can be a bit expensive for an item that may not see regular use most of the year. A better option is to use a human treadmill. If you choose to do this, be sure to take things slow at first and never push your dog too hard; high speeds can result in dangerous accidents.

3. Play with Him

Not a fan of the treadmill idea? You can still keep your dog active during the winter with a good set of dog toys. Avoid choosing typical outdoor items like Frisbees and balls because you won’t have the space for your dog to use them properly. Instead, choose toys that get your dog pulling, tugging, and generally getting a workout in place. Rope toys are especially good for this and come in sizes that suit all types of dogs.

4. Sign Him Up for Indoor Activities

You might not have a lot of indoor space for your dog to run around in, but chances are there a kennel, doggy daycare services, or canine recreational facility that does. These businesses frequently offer some sort of indoor exercise program for dogs, including agility training, cardio-fitness programs, and unstructured play sessions.

5. Feed Him Weight Management Food

Even if you can’t keep your dog moving all winter, you can prevent a lot of the negative effects of inactivity by helping him maintain his weight. Weight management dog foods are packed with all of the vitamins and nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy with fewer fats and calories than typical food. You can even get formulas that are specifically tailored for senior dogs who are even more prone to weight gain than their younger counterparts.

Don’t Let Winter Get Your Dog Down

Your dog will face some restrictions in how he can exercise this winter, but with a little ingenuity, you can keep him in tip-top shape for when summer comes around again. Try out a few different ideas and see which ones work best for you and your beloved fur kid.

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