Exercising Your Pet In the Winter
If you were asked to name the number one New Year’s resolution made, most of you would probably say losing weight and, according to The Statistic Brain Research Institute, you would be right! Folks tend to start a new exercise regimen at the first of the year, trying to work off those extra pounds from the holidays. But someone else that might choose this as their number one resolution (if they were able to talk) is your pet. He enjoys exercise and needs it for a healthy body. You may find that you tend to get out in the spring and summer getting you and your pet sufficient exercise (especially in Austin), but the cold winter months seem to be hard for us to see that Fido is stretching his legs as much as he should be. You might find your pet taking advantage of staying in and being lazy, just as we sometimes tend to do. This might result in him being overweight, and generally just not as healthy as he would be with the proper amount of exercise. So exercising your pet in the winter months is just as important as the other times of the year.
Winter Exercises For Your Pet…And You!
Cesar Millan’s article entitled, “6 Winter Exercise Tips For Your Dog “ has some good tips for getting your pet active, even when it’s chilly outside. He suggests things like playing a game with your dog inside, like hide and seek, or creating an obstacle course for him to hunt down treats. He goes on to include indoor swim classes for dogs. And, even though it might be really cold out, a short walk will get them out exercising at least for a few minutes.
Pet MD has a few suggestions also. We particularly like what they call the “interval walk”. It calls for a “one minute walk, 20 second jog, another one minute walk, 20 second sideways shuffle, one minute walk, then 20 seconds of running backwards.” Repeat up to five times, depending on how cold it is, and you and your pet both have warmed yourselves up with a good workout, but not staying out in the cold too long. Be sure, if it’s really quite cold, to bundle up your pet with a sweater and possibly booties.
Back indoors, of course fetching the ball is always fun, and after finding a safe place in your home to do it, you can stay warm while he plays. If you have stairs in your home, let him come to you going up and down. This is great exercise for your pet.
Exercising Your Pet In The Winter
Pet MD continues with another fairly new concept of dog yoga – called doga! Experts say it’s relaxing for both the owner and pet, and a wonderful way to connect to your pet.
Try “play dates” with your friends and their pups. Any of the activities mentioned above can be done with others, and the playing and romping that the pets will be doing will be exercise enough for any day in the life of your pet.
Something our clients have done in the past with their pets is pointing a flashlight beam at different points on the floor. Your pet will have a really fun time chasing that light (and get some great exercise as well).
Dog Parks In Austin, Texas
Here in the Austin area, there are several dog parks and walks where you can take your pet after you’ve both bundled up. Rebecca Bennet of Austin.com lists several of these parks where your dog can run free. One favorite is Red Bud Isle where you can hike around the island’s half mile nature trail. Others are Turkey Creek Trail at Emma Long Metropolitan Park, Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) on Auditorium Shores (great place for pets to socialize), Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, Onion Creek District Park, and the Shoal Creek Greenbelt.
Stay Warm…And Healthy!
Our pets need us to make sure they get the proper exercise in the cold seasons as well as the warm ones. All of these activities mentioned can be fun for you and your pet to do together, while keeping both of you healthy, even though it’s freezing outside!
photo credit: Hard at Play via photopin (license)