Cold weather exercise tips

As the weather gets colder, don’t shortchange your pets’ exercise needs. Smaller dogs and cats are happy to play fetch or chase inside the house, and up and down stairs if you have them. Spread meals or treats out in different rooms to make dinner or snack time it into a “hunting” game. With larger dogs, use “sit” command followed by luring with a toy or treat into a stand, called a “sit-to-stand” exercise; repeat 10-20 times for fit dogs, 5-10 times for old or arthritic dogs.  Next do a “sit-to-beg”, exercising both thighs and balance! If you are lucky enough to have an indoor play facility or swim facility in your town, those are also very useful. Enroll your dog in agility classes or Rally-o; many local clubs exist that meet regularly.

Protect tender toes from ice and snow with neoprene, leather or fleece booties- many styles are available. Various jackets are available for short-coated dogs to help keep their core temperature stable. Older pets and very young puppies are most at risk for cold exposure, as they may not be able to regulate tehir body temperature well. Make sure you check regularly for signs of overexposure when outdoors with your pets such as whining, shivering, or loss of interest in play activities. It is better to get indoors well before any chance of frostbite can occur!

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