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As the harsh winter sets in, it can be challenging to find new and engaging winter enrichment methods to keep your dog moving. While it’s understandable that so many dog owners choose not to brave the elements, we want to encourage you to keep your dog mobile and entertained instead. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can exercise your dog indoors, whether they’re a small or large breed, to keep them happy and healthy all year long.
Beyond everyday health and wellness, regular exercise during the long winter months is also vital for alleviating the aches and pains associated with canine arthritis. That’s why we’re taking a closer look at the many creative ways you can encourage your dog to stay mobile in the face of colder weather.
Keeping Your Dog Active and Entertained Indoors
When it’s cold and icy, playing with your dog outdoors isn’t exactly an option. So, you have to get creative indoors. Keep in mind that the key to successful indoor exercise is supervision, as your dog faces different challenges in their limited surroundings.
For instance, large dog breeds may not have enough space to run around. This can lead to them bumping into all kinds of hazardous objects or obstructions that can easily harm them. Small dogs also face challenges when exercising in the house, like running and jumping off of furniture or other higher objects where they can land wrong and injure themselves.
It is for these reasons (and so many more) that you have to take your dog’s size and breed into account when choosing appropriate indoor winter enrichment activities that are specific to their individual needs and pose the least amount of risk. Some preferred indoor exercises and activities to keep your pet mobile and entertained this winter may include:
1. Playing Hide-and-Seek
Encourage your dog to get out of bed and stretch their legs by playing an exciting game of “Hide-and-Seek.” Have your pet sit and wait while you hide somewhere in your home. Then, let them come search for you. This game can also be played by hiding your pet’s favourite toys and treats around the house. Trust us, this is one activity they’ll be thrilled to get out of bed for.
2. Playing Fetch & Tug-of-War
Your pet will love playing a few extra rounds of fetch or tug-of-war with you around the house. Just make sure that whatever space you set up for playtime around your home has plenty of room for your dog to move so that they don’t bump into something and get hurt or break something valuable in the process.
3. Set Up an Obstacle Course
To give your dog a mental and physical challenge, create a small obstacle course indoors. You can set up cushions, chairs, blankets, etc., and let them tunnel, jump, and dart around as they please.
4. DIY Dog Puzzles & Toys
Learn how to make your pup love their Kong toy even more or set up positive reinforcement puzzles to kick your winter enrichment up a level.
Online communities in this arena are ever-expanding. We recommend giving the Facebook group Canine Enrichment a follow for awesome ideas from pet owners all over the world!
5. Schedule Play Dates
Schedule playtime with other pet owners and their dogs so that everyone can interact and move about together. Most well-socialized dogs enjoy playing with their canine friends, and this is a great way to get some energy out while giving them that mental stimulation and encouragement that they need to get up and move.
6. Head to an Indoor Park
Even in the harsh weather, your dog can still get out and run around. There are several great indoor dog parks throughout the country where you can take your dog for a walk or just let them run around and get all of their energy out. It’s healthy for the mind and body, and it encourages them to be social with other pets.
Alleviating the Aches and Pains Associated with Canine Arthritis
The above-mentioned indoor activities aren’t just great for keeping your pet fit, trim, and boredom-free throughout the long winter. They’re also great ways to encourage an aching pet to stay mobile. Anyone who’s ever experienced demobilizing arthritic pain understands the great frustration that comes with this condition, especially during extreme shifts in weather that can be felt deep in the joints. You also understand that regular exercise is key to maintaining mobility and managing comfort levels. Well, the same applies to an arthritic dog.
They need your encouragement to keep moving as the winter chill affects their condition. A little regular exercise helps to alleviate these aches and pains immensely. Just remember to steer clear of exercises and activities that put too much stress on the joints, as this will only lead to more soreness and a reluctance to even move around.
At the end of the day, it’s all about maintaining a healthy routine. That said, don’t forget to shake things up from time to time so that your dog doesn’t get bored or discouraged. After all, we still have several weeks of cold weather ahead, and we know you’ll want to do everything in your power to ensure your pet stays happy and healthy all year round.
Prevent Winter Joint Pains Before They Start
Incorporating a high-quality joint supplement into your pet’s regular diet in addition to winter enrichment can also help minimize overall joint discomfort throughout the season (and all year long). Tri-Acta is the perfect choice for pet parents who want to keep their pets comfortable and mobile before symptoms of arthritis rear its ugly head!
For more information on Tri-Acta regular and maximum strength joint supplements, please visit here.
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Proactive & Therapeutic Joint Supplements
When given daily, Integricare joint supplements recover bone and joint injuries faster and help prevent mobility injuries from happening in the first place.