Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Keeping Pets Active When The Temps Drop

2015.01.14.-HOT_iStock_000040645364_MediumWe consider ourselves very fortunate to enjoy the temperate weather in Texas, where winter temperatures don’t often dip below freezing. But even here, that feeling can soon dissipate after the holidays when cloudy skies and chilly days negatively influence our motivation to keep active.

Sadly, pets suffer similarly through the seasonal blahs; but, with a little prodding, they definitely don’t have to. If the weather has gotten to you and your pet, consider adopting some our tried and true tips to up the physical ante this winter. By keeping your pet’s paws moving this winter (not to mention yours), we can anticipate that, by the time spring rolls around, a positive, healthy outlook will abound.

Encouraging More Outside Time

Arthritic and senior pets typically lead the pack when it comes to snubbing cold weather, and for valid reasons. However, just about any pet can have trouble shaking off the chill of the winter months, and dread simply going outside. You may have seen your pet peer out the door to gauge whether or not a bathroom break might occur, then decide to wait or just skip it altogether to avoid cold concrete or wet ground.

To mitigate your pet’s questioning looks and shivering coat, we recommend supplying a warm, water repellant vest or jacket. Likewise, booties (if tolerated) can change your pet’s mind pretty quickly when it comes to cold ground.

Once your pet is outfitted for the cold, drive or walk to a new spot for your pet to enjoy the crisp air. All the new sights and smells at a park or trail will entice him or her to find a reason to wag at the door next time.

When you cannot take your pet to a special place, create a temporary obstacle course in your backyard for your pet to play in and learn from. Treats, accolades, and vigorous petting will contribute to a positive experience for your otherwise hard-to-convince pet.

Or, try any of these indoor activities:

  • Play fetch down your hallway or up/down staircase
  • Laser pointer
  • Hide and seek with either toys or treats
  • Chase bubbles

Why Exercise Is Matters

Keeping up the activity levels around the house and backyard can minimize certain emotional and behavioral side-effects brought on by winter. Pets need and crave physical exertion every day or else risk becoming stressed, depressed, or overweight. Specifically, dogs can develop certain problems like chewing, biting, barking, and can even start to behave aggressively.

Getting Out There

Your pet deserves the best throughout the year. Don’t let the colder temperatures get either of you down – or hold you back. Whatever you choose to do this winter to keep activity levels up and increase morale around the house, your pet will thank you. The physical development and fresh air will only add to the gratitude your pet has for you, not to mention your powerful bond lasting through all four seasons.

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