Winter can be a difficult time for pet lovers and their dogs. When the temperatures drop, it can be too cold or icy for you or your pooch to go for a walk or a romp in the park. This can be doubly difficult if you go on vacation or travel, and can’t let your pet stay outside because of the freezing temperatures. (And it’s finally starting to get cold in the Chapel Hill area!)
We know that dogs need to stay inside when it’s cold, but they need exercise and interaction too. Just like us, dogs can get antsy when kept indoors too long. Over a period of months, that can take a toll on a dog’s behavior. One trainer explains that spring is her busiest time of year because that’s when she works with dogs to correct misbehavior that developed over the winter because of inactivity. Dogs who don’t have consistent opportunities to exercise can develop bad habits including hyperactive greetings, chewing on valuable belongings, and increased anxiety or aggression.
To prevent springtime behavior problems and to keep your dog healthy and active throughout the year, consider these options to keep your pooch moving, even when stuck indoors.
Enroll your pet in a doggy daycare
Imagine taking your dog to a bright, welcoming canine play place, with indoor and outdoor playrooms designed for supervised group and individual play. Doggy daycares provide socialization and activity for pets, giving them room to roam and a chance to play with others. Experts say doggy daycare may be an excellent option if your dog enjoys being with others, and is active and has the energy and desire to play. Two or three days a week of daycare can give your pet the stimulation she needs to stay busy and happy—especially if you are at work or away from home during the day.
Take your dog with you on errands
Instead of leaving your dog home when you go out, have her come with you in the car. Keep it interesting for your pet by building in a visit to a pet store or to the vet for a quick hello and treat. An increasing number of locations are becoming pet-friendly, so check your local retailers and restaurants to see if your dog can accompany you inside.
Set up games in your home
With a little time and imagination, you can set up your own indoor Olympic event for your pet. Games of Tug of war, fetch or an obstacle course can keep you and your dog busy for hours.
The amount of exercise your pet requires will depend on her breed, temperament, age and condition. By meeting her activity needs—either on your own, or with assistance through a day care—you’ll help her weather the winter and be in good physical and behavioral shape for spring.
For more information about Doggy Daycare at Dogwood Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort, give us a call at 919-942-6330. We operate in the Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Orange County and Pittsboro / Chatham County areas.