I thought I would ring in the new year, 2016, with some winter fitness tips for dogs (and their humans). It’s no secret we live in a climate where we normally have a cold and snowy winter, but it is also our favorite and most active season. You and your dog can stay fit in the winter as well, if you follow my simple tips.
Winter Fitness Tips For Dogs
1. Make a lifestyle change
Every year so many people make their new year resolutions and what becomes of them? Most of the time nothing. We don’t make resolutions at my house. We have a lifestyle which often includes goals. Decide you want to get fit in 2016 by living a healthy and fit lifestyle. Include your dog. Dogs are the best fitness buddies you will ever find. We are always ready and willing to workout with you. Start small and set a goal for where you want to be later in the year. Choose activities you enjoy, and you will find it easier to make them a habit. Make sure you stick with your lifestyle change for at least a month to allow your body time to adjust. Leave the excuses locked in a closet. Get out there with your dog no matter if it is raining, snowing, hot, or cold. You will both develop a new routine that will be your new lifestyle.
2. Be seen
Late fall and winter are when most pedestrian/vehicle accidents occur. Pedestrians don’t always pay attention to traffic, and many drivers simply don’t see pedestrians, or are distracted. Don’t take any risks. We are always out for an hour or more in the dark morning hours, but no one can miss us! Never assume a car will stop, not even at a crosswalk or stop sign. Mom wears a reflective vest, reflective wrist and ankle bands and a strobe light. If we do get hit, that driver will have a tough time saying they couldn’t see us! Never go out in just dark clothing, that is asking for trouble. Make sure your dog also has something reflective on their collar or coat so they are also seen.
3. Dress for success
Humans always wear the appropriate clothing, but what about your dog? Many dogs don’t need coats, so make sure your dog needs one before you run out and buy one. My sisters and I never wear coats and are plenty warm. Do get some boots/shoes for your dog. We love being out in the snow, but right after a good snow, we tend to get snowballs in our paw pads which is painful. One also has to realize those plows are dumping salt all over the roads. After a snow, we wear PAWZ boots for a day or two. They are easy to put on, and after about three steps, we forget we are wearing them. We can run, walk, do everything we need to do wearing them, and our paws are safe and protected.
4. Know the weather conditions
We go out 365 days a year for our walks, two to three times a day, but before heading out, Mom always checks the current weather. If it is below zero cold, we need to wear our shoes to keep our paws from freezing on the pavement, and we will need to take a shorter walk. If we have gotten rain or sleet that has frozen, we have to be extra careful. Dogs fall on the ice just as humans do, and we can also get seriously injured. Never ask your dog to run or chase on slippery surfaces as we may end up with a trip to the vet. Stay on clean shoveled surfaces, or in the case of ice, on the grass or in the snow if there is any.
Most people only think about getting their dog plenty of water in the heat of the summer, but actually, we need a lot of water in the winter as well. If you live in a cold climate where your furnace is running all winter, you know how dry the air is, which means you and your dog are being dried out too. Make sure and provide clean drinking water for your dog at home, and if you are out and about, bring along water for him. Avoid using metal bowls for outdoor water in the winter as tongues can freeze to the metal. I’m enjoying my Torus water bowl outside. I will be talking more about these awesome bowls and giving one away on Monday, so stay tuned!
Now that you have read my fitness tips for dogs, make your new lifestyle plans today and get started. Don’t wait until tomorrow! What do you and your dog enjoy doing together in the winter?
I’m co hosting the FitDog Friday Blog Hop with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!