Helpful Tips on Canine Winter Exercise

Is your dog getting ants in his pants? If you are like most dog owners, the plunge of winter temperatures has dampened your enthusiasm for outdoor activity, causing angst for your cooped-up canine. Many animal behavioral specialists reported that dogs that didn’t receive regular exercise during the winter became antsy and reactive in the spring and some developed unwanted behavioral patterns. Additionally, it is not good for a dog’s health to be active in the summer and a couch-potato in the winter. For optimum mental and physical health, many veterinarians recommend that dogs receive 45 minutes to an hour of daily, consistent exercise and enrichment, broken up into shorter intervals.

Even if we want the best for our canine companions, winter presents challenges that make it difficult to keep up a regular exercise routine for our dogs. If you are wondering how to keep your dog active, watch this video. In it, Dr. Sarah gives tips and advice from venturing outside to transforming your indoor space into a canine activity center. Most activities do not require fancy technology or major space overhauls – just some creativity and a sense of fun.

Comments (8) -

  • Connie Todd

    2/16/2010 5:24:17 AM |

    Dr. Sarah,
    Great advice.  As you know the East Coast recently suffered a tremendous amount of snow making it so difficult for the animals.  We had 2 feet in our back yard and our dog had difficulty going to the bathroom.  I watched her at all times when she attempts to walk on top of the snow for fear she will fall in (Chow Mix.  Especially hard on her hips.  Thank you for the wonderful adivce.  As a trainer I will pass it along to my clients.

  • Karel

    2/20/2010 6:40:55 AM |

    Another option for winter exercise and for any other adverse temperature situation when you are unable to take the dogs outside for a run or walk is having the dog walk on a treadmill (thanks to Cesar Milan - the "Dog Whisperer")!  I've been doing this with both by 12 yr old Puggle and my 9 yr old English bulldog for a couple of years now and they actually love it!  When the weather is nice, we walk outside. But when the weather isn't conducive to walking, I put them on the treadmill for 45 mins each.  I started off with them on a leash, at 1 mph, and lured them with TEENSY tiny bits of a healthy treat.  Now, they climb on the treadmill by themselves, walk off leash, and are very tired when they get off.  The Puggle walks at 1.8 mph and the bulldog at 1.5 mph but I can see where some dogs could easily be taught to run on the treadmill.  

  • AnnaMaria Forte

    2/20/2010 10:07:13 AM |

    Dr. Sarah,

    Thanks for the winter help for our active teddy bear goldendoodle.  My young boys are planning an obstacle course/fetch game in our hallway and I will be purchasing some dog safe bubbles.  With 2 feet of snow surrounding our property these are great activities to play in the home.

    Thank for all your advice.  


  • Mark C. Brown DVM,CCRP

    2/23/2010 5:58:25 AM |

    @ Karel:
    This is a wonderful idea that I constantly use with my rehabilitation patients here in Florida. We have the opposite problem with outside temperatures and that is heat. Most dogs will get into life threatening situations when the weather is too hot. Indoor treadmills are fantastic ways to allow the dog to respire cooled ambient air conditioning, thus maintaining their core temp within a safe range. Getting them on the treadmill is a wonderful natural way to deal with "ADHD dogs" that typically get into trouble due to a lack of exersize. Isn't Caesar amazing?

    Dr. Brown

  • Amelia

    2/25/2010 4:28:51 PM |

    Dr. Sarah,

    The 5 feet of snow that we have had is melting and the roads are dirty...which means my white Eskie comes back filthy on her underside.  We are spending a lot of quality time in the bath tub after each walk for a "bottom half" wash with HPN's Revitalizing Shampoo.  

    Living in the moment,
    animal lover Amelia

  • Judy Bishop

    3/1/2010 9:32:06 AM |

    Hi Dr. Sarah!

    Your advice is right on! As a Trilogy representative, I get more calls and sell more Life's Abundance Weight Loss Formula during winter months than any other time of year. Many people forget that their dogs need just as much exercise in winter and your tips are so helpful!

    I will pass this along to everyone I know!
    Thank you for the wonderful advice!

  • Rebecca Forrest

    3/2/2010 7:32:17 AM |

    Dr. Sarah, great advice. You mentioned some ideas I hadn't thought of. The bubbles are especially inspirational, and they also work great for cats! Thanks for the good information!

  • Linda Smith

    3/12/2010 12:24:26 PM |

    @ Connie Todd:


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