Your senior or couch-potato pet may not mind lounging lazily around the house when it’s wet, cold, hot, smoggy… or even mild and sunny! However, your young, energetic, or high-maintenance four-legged pal is a very different story. Without ample activity, they can become quite a handful – of fun, and work! But every pup (even low-energy breeds) requires movement and stimulation every day, even if Mother Nature has other plans.
Ready, Set, Fun!
How do you make sure your furry friend gets the exercise they need – and, in many cases, crave – when the weather outside is frightful? Let’s get into it!
Where there is a will, there is a way. Try these exercise tips for bad weather days.
Dress for the Weather.
There are endless options when it comes to coats and boots for pups. This is important for breeds who are just plain poorly equipped for winter cold and snow (e.g. a malamute will think nothing of charging through a snowbank at -10° but your poor pittie will be shivering!). Boots keep them warm and also prevent the salt and sand used to treat roads and sidewalks from irritating their paws. Boots are also a good idea for pups who face extreme heat; pavement can easily burn paws and hot sand can be a pain (literally).
You may have to shorten your walk on some days, but if you can sneak in a few small ones instead, they’ll thank you for it.
Head to the Mall.
Some malls, shopping centers, and big box stores allow leashed dogs inside. You can take a few laps to burn off their energy and do some window shopping at the same time. Some communities even offer indoor pet centers that engage and exercise our furry friends when the weather is miserable. Unsure if a public space allows pets? A quick internet search may yield some answers!
Weather can prevent outdoor activity but it doesn’t need to prevent all activity. Just trade those excuses for some creativity. Give one of these options a try:
- Playing with laser pointers; a cat-favorite, dogs love chasing the lights too
- Training your high-energy dog to use the treadmill (with lots of treats to encourage them as they learn). Just uh, don’t set the speed too fast, obviously.
- Using the stairs. Get a free boot camp-inspired class in for your dog – and you.
- Hiding treats around the house. They’ll get plenty of movement from seeking!
- Playing tug of war or fetch.
- Working out. It. Never. Fails. Once you pull out your mat and start exercising, your pet wants to join in. Trade your dumbbell for one of their toys, do some squats, and encourage them to move with you. You can even try some dog yoga – Doga!
Work Their Brains.
Engaging your pet’s mind can be just as tiring (in a good way) as exercising them physically.
- Stimulate them by teaching them a new trick or skill.
- Pop on YouTube for some training tutorials.
- Try teaching them to “talk” with dog speech buttons.
- Make ‘em work for those treats! Even snack and mealtime can be learning times if you use puzzle bowls and balls.
Plan ahead to be well-prepared with pet food and water in case the weather disrupts your schedule. Also keep in mind that changes in conditions can come on suddenly; if you’re out and about, pack a bottle of extra water and some kibble/treats just in case.
Who’s pumped up to exercise? Your pet, that’s who! Whether you’re braving the elements or creating a doggie obstacle course inside, incorporate lots of movement, stimulation… and, as always, love.