Pets need to stay healthy, too! Of the up to 48 million U.S. households that own dogs and nearly 39 million that own cats, relatively few pet owners realize what a tremendous impact a little bit of extra weight can have on their furry friends’ health. These effects can go especially unnoticed in winter months, when temperatures can dip to nearly freezing in Arizona and pet owners aren’t exactly motivated to go outside. It’s important to know how to exercise your dog in the winter and keep them physically healthy year-round. Here are a few tips to keep your doggo warm and at an ideal weight this winter:
1. Go For A Wintry Walk
Arizona’s climate can be pretty variable this time of year. Seek out low valleys or areas prone to getting the most snow, or wait for one of those unexpected but increasingly common snowfalls, to take your dog on a walk in the snow. Bundle up! Dogs love running, playing, tossing and turning in the powdery white stuff!
2. What is Skijoring? It’s a Great Time to Find Out!
Does a cross between dog sledding and cross-country skiing sound crazy awesome to you? Rover.com describes it as the “best dog sport you’ve never heard of.” Tugging you along on slick, winter snow is great exercise for the dog in your life.
3. Yes, Indoor Dog Parks Are A Thing
Can dogs get colds? The answer is yes! If you think your dog is a little too prone to shaking and shivering in the winter cold, consider looking into an indoor dog park. Veterinary services and pet hospitals recommend these large interactive, indoor spaces as a great place to exercise your pooch if the temperatures dip a bit too low for comfort.
4. Namaste, Doggo
Who says yoga is for humans only? Right now, creative and interactive yoga classes with animals, such as yoga with cats, yoga with dogs, and yoga with goats (yes, yoga with goats), is taking off. Get in on the trend! Look online for yoga classes that encourage you to bring the pup in your local Arizona area.
5. Treats: Ideal For Indoor and Outdoor Use!
What kind of dog doesn’t love treats? The outdoors are great for hiding treats puzzles. Fill up hollow toys with peanut butter and let your dog roll around with it in the snow. Just read the label and make certain any peanut butter you give to your dog does not contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be toxic to dogs. Devote a few hours to baking holiday-shaped, homemade dog treats (include pumpkin for a healthy dose of vegetables and fiber), and have a scavenger hunt outdoors.
Get your dog jumping by throwing balls or sticks up in the air for them to catch. Bubbles are also another great idea to get your dog moving. Dogs love jumping up to catch and pop them. Again, just make sure to read labels for non-toxic varieties!
Obesity can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, cancer, and lipoma in dogs. (What is lipoma in dogs? Lipoma in dogs results from excess fat cells. Most vets consider them benign, but they can cause your pup a great deal of discomfort, or intact lipomas can result in medical complications.) Avoid scary health complications with fun, festive exercise this winter!
At Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center we are happy to provide a wide range of veterinary services to keep your pet happy and healthy throughout the winter months and beyond. Whether you’re looking to stay up on regular animal health visits or if you find yourself in the midst of a veterinary emergency, our team of experienced veterinarians is here to help. When it comes to visiting animal hospitals, we understand that the experience can be full of stress and worry, so we aim to make things as simple as possible. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts today.