Many owners notice a natural decline in activity of their pets during the winter time. This decrease in activity commonly leads to weight gain and while a small increase is common with lower activity levels, there are many ways to prevent the weight gain before it occurs. A majority of pet owners are aware of the availability of Doggy Day Care; however some owners seek a more unique exercise solution for their four legged best friends. For those looking for an out of the ordinary activity for your furry companion, consider one of these activities:
Swimming – Nationwide pools geared towards our four legged friends are springing up. These indoor retreats offer exercise year round in a controlled environment. Swim vests and lifeguards help keep your pooch safe as he/she paddles around the pool!
Fly Ball – Fast paced and exciting for pups of all ages and breeds; fly ball is a ball loving dog’s dream. (Please refer to our blog at www.animalcentral.net/blog/flyball for more information on this growing canine sport.)
Agility Courses – A great way to keep your dog in shape while stimulating their mind. This is also a great pet and owner activity that you can compete in together! (Please visit our blog for more information at www.animalcentral.net/blog/agility-for-dogs )
Outdoor: (Please be certain that your pet stays warm during outdoor activities as they are susceptible to hypothermia as well!)
Running/Walking – Great form of exercise and most dogs enjoy being out with their owner.
Skijoring – A combination of cross country skiing and dog sledding; Skijoring is an exhilarating sport that provides exercise for both pet and human companion as they mix it up in the snow! Be sure to rent/purchase safety equipment made specifically for this sport in order to avoid injury to yourself or your dog.
Fetch – can be played indoors or outdoors depending on your home. This is a game that a lot of cats are willing to get in on too if given the chance! Owners are often surprised to find that their feline friends will fetch just as well as their canine pals do.
As always, your pet’s health must be considered prior to beginning these activities. Remember that your pet may have limitations due to age, weight or medical condition that should be discussed with their veterinarians prior to them enjoying these winter time activities. Ask us at Animal Central for more information on how to keep your pet busy in winter time or visit: http://www.baxterboo.com/catdogblog/post.cfm/10-great-winter-activities-for-dogs
Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff