So, what can you do if you are stuck indoors with your dog?
Well, believe it or not this can be a GREAT opportunity to have fun with your dogs and pamper them at the same time. Here are some suggestions to make this cold, dreary season into one that you both look forward to.
- Help your dog relax with a soft, warm new bed.
- Soak up the sun by opening the shades or curtains and giving your dog a nice place to nap.
- Don't keep them outside too long. Frigid temperatures pose a real risk to dogs, especially when frostbite becomes a possibility or if they get wet. Keep them dry and limit outside time during temperature extremes. Be especially careful on windy days as wind chill can greatly increase the risk of injury.
- Keep things active. Dogs want and need exercise all year round. Physical activity is good for the muscles, allows your dog to expel excess energy, keeps him mentally stimulated and helps prevent boredom. When he does come in, dry his paws with a soft cloth. This will keep your home clean and get rid of snow, ice and salt that may otherwise get tracked in.
- Have fun! Just because it is winter doesn't mean you can't still play games.
- Be safe, not lazy. When it is cold, many pet owners are tempted to let their dogs "out" on their own. Bundle up and take him out on a leash as usual. Allowing your dog to go out unsupervised is a common way for dogs to end up lost or injured. It is really common for dogs to be let out and get hit by a car when it is cold (and their owners don't want to take them out).
- Make sure your home is safe. Keep objects your pet may chew and ingest out of their reach. Keep toxins (such as anti-freeze) safely put away. Prevent exposure to all human medications.
Lastly, take time to spend with your dog. Brush him, comb him, curl up with a book or watch a movie with him. Remember, you are your dog's best friend.