The weather doesn’t just have a direct impact on your mood – it may affect your pup’s mood, too! While there’s no scientific way to find out for sure (at least until someone figures out how to communicate with dogs), one survey found owners do think their pets get depressed during darker months. Who can blame them? The days are darker, the walks are shorter, and the outdoor play is limited.
What better way to cheer up your furry friend than by keeping him active with some fun new activities this winter?
Here are a few new ideas you may not have tried yet:
1. Snow maze
Lace up your boots and head outside for some fun in the snow (if you have some!). BluePearl pet hospital suggests building a snow maze, much like the ones that were popular on social media. It’s simple – create some narrow pathways in your yard with a shovel and let them go wild. Not only is it great physical activity, your dog will have some much needed mental stimulation trying to navigate his way through the different paths. The combination will tire them out and have them itching for a nap on the comfy couch (if you allow that!).
2. Stairway fun
You know how the stairs get your blood and heart pumping – it does the same for your pup! Get your little one excited by running up and down the stairs a few times. They’ll think it’s a fun game of follow the leader and pick up on your excitement. When you’re ready for a break (probably before he is!), grab a toy, sit at the top of the stairs, and throw it down the stairs. He’ll love how the toy bounces out of control and will try to keep up pace.
Bubbles aren’t just for kids – a lot of dogs love them, too! Plus, you’ll love seeing them jump in the air and try to catch them. Just make sure you find pet-friendly bubbles, in case your pup tries to eat them. You can even get bacon scented bubbles with a special tear-free formula that won’t sting your dog’s eyes and is nontoxic!
4. Indoor obstacle course
Most dogs love a good challenge, one that involves physical and mental stimulation. Get creative and set up an indoor obstacle course. Look around your house and see what you have – chairs, tape (for walls), cushions, boxes, etc. Get creative and hang blankets over the chair so your dog has to go through the “tunnel.”
As you’re enjoying new activities, a few things to keep in mind:
- Consider winter clothes (a sweater, booties, etc.) to keep your pup warm
- Use pet friendly salt to melt the snow and ice in your driveway
- Clean paws to remove any chemicals/salt
- Limit time outdoors in extremely cold weather
- Support joint and hip health with a supplement.
Movement in the winter can be difficult on joints, yet it’s important to keep them happy, healthy, and engaged with exercise. Switching back and forth between indoor and outdoor activities, while offering a joint and hip supplement, will keep your pup going.