As a pet owner, you may find yourself explaining that looking after a pet is not that different to looking after a child. Although they are lower maintenance in many ways, there are also key similarities. Ensuring that you feed them, play with them, give them enough attention, and take them for medical check-ups are all crucial to keeping them happy and healthy. But beyond food and water, exercise is arguably the most important thing for your pet— especially if you have a dog. Even if you live in Canada like us, temperate weather is not a good excuse for neglecting exercise during the winter months.

Take them for walks

Despite rain, snow, sleet and ice, it is important to take your pup outside for a little cardio. Simply walking down the street (if that’s as far as you can make it) will be better than nothing for their little hearts, lungs, joints, and bones. Be sure to dress the both of you accordingly— dog jackets and booties are not just for people who like accessorizing, but often necessary to protect your dog from the elements. If your neighbourhood is heavily salted and your dog refuses paw-wear, be mindful of where they are stepping and wash them off afterwards.

Take them to the park

On days when the weather is not too frightful, time at the park is also enjoyable for dogs, even during colder months. Parks (especially dedicated dog parks) typically allow them more freedom and space to run around, which is great for playing and socializing. Although they can’t exactly tell you, these activities are often necessary to keep your dog happy throughout the grey and gloomy stretch between November and March. Bring a ball with you for a game of fetch, and wear proper footwear so you can run around with them. If other “spirited” pups are there at the same time, be careful they’re not roughhousing or overexerting too much.

Play with them indoors

There will be treacherous days throughout the winter where Rex or Lucy should only be let out to quickly do their “business.” When that happens, it can be all too tempting to spend the entire time snuggling together on the couch. But in between naps, try grabbing their favourite toys to encourage some activity. If your dog is not particularly playful, entice him or her to move around with a treat ball or another type of food puzzle that can still keep them busy, entertained, and encourage them to take a break from lying down.

Ultimately, remember that dogs are like humans in many ways. Since cold and wintery weather conditions can make you both feel down, be sure to keep your mental and physical states in mind by getting up and at ‘em each day. You can still enjoy a little nap and TV-watching together after having some fun outdoors. If you decide to plan a mid-winter escape with your dog, contact us to help you with your travel arrangements!