Eleven Ways to Keep Your Dog Active in Winter

Happy Dog Running In Winter Snow

Tipp City sees more than its fair share of inclement winter weather. Every year, our area receives an average of more than 19.8 inches of snow.

Some dog owners wonder how they can keep their dogs fit, happy, and active when the snow begins falling outside. Tipp City Veterinary Hospital has several fun ideas for pet parents who want to exercise their furry pals during icy winter months.

Why Exercise is Important For Dogs During the Winter

Dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy and fit. Unfortunately, many owners don’t give their four-legged friends enough activity during the winter months. Canines who don’t exercise can become obese. In the United States, almost 50 percent of dogs are overweight. These pets may have chronic issues like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Regular exercise improves long-term health problems and supports a healthy immune system in pets.

Even if the weather is chilly, your pet needs exercise. Canines can develop behavioral issues when they don’t receive enough activity. These destructive behaviors include chewing, barking, or digging. Exercise helps your pet to get rid of pent-up energy. The outdoor activities allow your dog to explore the world and meet friends.

Get an Annual Health Check Up for Your Pet

The amount of exercise that dogs need during the winter months will depend on their age, health, and breed. Pet parents should get an annual check-up for their dog before starting an exercise program, especially if their furry pals are overweight, seniors, or have chronic health conditions.

Contact Tipp City Veterinary Hospital to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians. We’ll check your pet for any health-related issues that can make them sensitive to colder temperatures. Our Tipp City, Ohio veterinarians will suggest the safest exercises for your pet based on their age and health concerns.

Establish a Routine

Pet parents should develop workout routines for their dogs that are realistic and will fit in with their job schedules. Owners can use a different exercise routine when inclement winter weather hits the Tipp City area. Start with short periods of exercise of 10 minutes when your dog begins its fitness routine. Gradually increase the session length to 30 minutes per day.

Keeping Your Dog Safe in Winter Weather

Dog owners should exercise their pets for brief periods on brisk winter days. Here are a few tips to protect your dog in colder weather:

  1. Never let dogs off leash when walking in the snow, especially during a storm. Pets can lose the scent and become lost. All dogs should wear identification tags or have a registered microchip.
  2. Wipe snow, sleet, and ice off of their stomach and legs when they come inside. Your dog can eat salt, antifreeze, and deicing toxins when they lick their paws. The chemicals may also irritate paw pads.
  3. Use boots or pads to protect their paws from icy precipitation.
  4. Wrap tiny or short-hair dogs in coat or sweaters to keep them warm.
  5. Some dogs love playing rough in the snow. Pet parents should carry tote bags with towels, extra sweaters, and booties for their furry friend. Brush off any snow, then put pets into the dry clothing. This action will keep canines from developing hypothermia.

Five Outdoor Activities for Your Pet

Here are five outdoor activities your dog will enjoy during the winter.

1. Take Your Dog for a Walk Outside

Exercise improves the physical and emotional health of dogs. Walking is one of the best activities for dogs and puppies. Pet owners can take their furry friends outside for a brief stroll around the neighborhood in cold weather. Here are a few guidelines for walks based on age, size, and health status.

  1. Medium to Large Dogs – Exercise for 30 minutes if the temperatures are above 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Smaller Dogs – Limit their walks to 15 to 20 minutes if temperatures are between 20 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Avoid Walking in Sub-Zero Temperatures – Don’t walk pets outside if temperatures fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Use Special Care for Puppies, Seniors, and Sick Dogs in Cold Weather – Younger puppies and older dogs are more sensitive to colder weather because their bodies can’t regulate temperatures well.

2. Create an Outdoor Obstacle Course

An exciting backyard activity for dogs is an outdoor obstacle course. Owners can construct maze-like pathways and barricades from heavy snow. Don’t create tunnels from snowdrifts. These can collapse and harm your dog. Instead, use above-ground ones made from colorful nylon to keep your pet safe.

Check the yard to ensure it is free from hidden hazards before your four-legged friend explores the obstacle course. There should be enough space for tricks and extra room for safety purposes.

  • Jumping Obstacles – Use PVC Pipe to create jumping obstacles. Add moveable rungs to adjust the obstacle’s height when your dog becomes stronger. Pet owners may buy Instructables if they don’t build them.
  • Weaving Obstacles – Create these items using orange cones or striped, lightweight poles. Guide pets through the obstacles to build their strength and agility.
  • Exercise Intensity – Start slowly, allowing pets to walk through the cones, before allowing them to run.
  • Ramps – Create ramps out of snow. Make mini snow bumps that your pet can walk up and down.

3. Take a Winter Hike

Hikes in natural settings are relaxing for pets. Dogs enjoy exploring the smells and sights of new territory outside. They can also see wild animals while they’re in the area. Pet owners should protect their pets from potential dangers even during the winter months. Keep your pet on-leash at all times to prevent them from getting lost.

You should also use an insect repellant containing DEET. On warmer days, there may be fleas or ticks in the area that can latch onto your pet. Always check your pet for insects after your hike.

Some spectacular hiking places to visit in Tipp City are the Charleston Falls Preserve and the Honey Creek Preserve.

4. Take Your Pet to a Dog Park

On warmer winter days, take your pet outside. Public parks let dogs get ample exercise and socialization opportunities with other pets. They can get some fresh air while visiting the park. Your pet can also get a chance to play.

You can take them to Tipp City’s Kyle Dog Park at the Thomas B. Kyle Memorial Park.

5. Skijoring

This sport is a blend of cross-country skiing and dog sledding. If your pet is large enough, place a harness on them. Put your skis on, then clip on the leash. Allow your pet to run ahead of you and pull you across the snow. This activity is perfect for large to medium dogs.

Your dog should weight at least 30 pounds to participate in skijoring. You should also take an introductory course to learn skijoring safety tips.

Indoor Winter Exercise Options

1. Put Your Dog on the Treadmill

Physical therapists have used treadmills to rehabilitate injured dogs in the past. They are just as effective as walking pets outdoors in the wintertime. Here are some guidelines to use a treadmill.

  1. Set the treadmill at low speed.
  2. Place a high-value treat in front of your pet’s nose, then ask it to walk toward you.
  3. After your dog acclimates to the speed, you can increase it slowly.
  4. Monitor your pet at all times to ensure it is comfortable when you use the treadmill.
  5. When your pet shows signs of fatigue, take it off of the equipment.

2. Make Treat Time Fun

Your pets are natural scavengers. They spend many of their waking time searching for food. Try to stimulate your dog’s mind while they are indoors. Offer your pet snacks in a feeding toy rather than giving their treats or meals to them directly. Research shows that canines enjoy their food more when they must work for it. Feeding toys will slow down how fast they eat their food.

3. Take Your Pet to An Indoor Agility Course

If your pet can’t go outside, indoor agility courses are a great way to help them stay in shape. Most facilities have ladders, tunnels, and hurdles. You can provide support and praise for your dog while they complete the course. They provide hardcore cardiovascular workouts and improves their coordination skills.

4. Practice New Tricks and Commands

Teach your pets new obedience commands. Start off with simple ones like “sit” or “stay.” Later, teach them more complicated tricks like rolling over. These commands will help you form a closer bond with your pet. It will also result in better behavior.

5. Dancing

Pet parents may dance with their pet instead during the winter months if they hate walking outdoors. They should choreograph a dance routine using their favorite music. Your pet can run between your legs while the music plays.

This fun activity will help your furry friend to burn more calories. They will also lower their blood pressure. Most dogs also develop better balance and stamina.

6. Schedule Play Dates

Your pets can benefit from play dates with other animals. Call other owners to see if you can take your dog’s best friends on playdates. You can host these events in your backyard or at a recreation area. Dog parks can give your pet some off-leash time with their besties. Doggy daycares are another way for your pet to interact with others when you aren’t at home.

About Tipp City Veterinary Hospital

Pet owners should get a check-up for their furry friends before allowing them to venture outside in winter weather. Get your pet’s annual examination at Tipp City Veterinary Hospital. Contact our office to schedule an appointment today.

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Brandon Silverthorn
Brandon Silverthorn
posted 2 weeks ago

The entire staff is friendly, professional and genuinely care about the animals and their needs. They provide a clean environment, free of clutter. The animals being boarded seem comfortable and safe. The dogs are separated from the cats.The equipment is up-to-date. They offer payment options, and have an app! WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR?

Katie McCrea
Katie McCrea
posted 4 weeks ago

This was my first visit and I had a sick little dog who needed to be seen on a Sunday, when his normal vet is closed. Dr. Jake took really good care of him and was very understanding when my dog tried to eat him. The women running the front counter were extremely kind and friendly and treated us like we’ve been coming there for years. Definitely a great experience and my dog is feeling so much better!

Blake Hillard
Blake Hillard
posted 5 days ago

My Pomeranian pup broke his hind leg and no vet in my area was confident in their ability to do the surgery required to help him. I stumble across Tipp City Veterinary Hospital on google and called them, they got my baby in ASAP and after taking new xrays proceeded with the surgery. They did it that same day almost immediately and he was back home the same night. They were very helpful, friendly and informative. I highly recommend them for anything you may need for your pet and they’re prices are reasonable too.

Valerie Barnhart
Valerie Barnhart
posted 3 weeks ago

I had to have my 15 year old dog put down on a Saturday afternoon. They were not my regular vet, but my vet had closed at noon and I didn't feel I could wait until Monday. They scheduled a time for me to come in and when we arrived they had a room ready so we did not have to sit in the waiting room. The staff was so kind and caring. They brought a small plate with all kinds of little goodies for my beloved dog. After she passed they made a clay foot print on clay with her name and heart on it. They were so kind to bring her to my car and they hugged me and cried with me and told me how sorrythey were for my loss. They also sent a beautiful card signed by the staff with caring messages. I would recommend them to anyone. I was so impressed and forever grateful for being so kind during my loss.

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