The dogs have cabin fever.
Each evening after dinner, they linger by their leashes wondering why we aren’t getting ready for our walk around the neighborhood. I wish they could understand subzero temperatures and icy sidewalks. We did try to walk them a few weeks ago, but they were both hot-stepping just a few blocks into our excursion. The cement is simply too cold for them right now. And, no, they won’t wear boots.
So, we’ve had to get creative! Of course the pups love couch snuggles, but they also need exercise and mental stimulation during the winter. So, here are a few ideas to perk up your pup during these long, cold days!
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1. Go to the pet store.
Some animal-focused retailers allow dogs on leashes to roam their stores. In my neck of the woods, PetCo, PetSmart and Bomgaars all welcome well-behaved pets.
Just this week we took the pups with us to buy kibble and soft dog food. We lingered in the aisles, let them sniff the displays and may have gone for a short jog in the wide aisles at the back of the store. It’s OK. I used to work at the store and they know I’m a little crazy.
2. Try new treats.
Break your usual cycle and give your pets something new. After dinner our pups get “an after-dinner mint” if they sit patiently while we eat.
The other day my doorbell rang and the FedEx guy dropped off a huge box for the pups. The nice folks at Loving Pets sent us some bags of their popular Waggles and their new (coming soon!) Puffsters dog snacks. Belle and Orion have been eagerly gobbling down these new treats.
The Waggles are crispy chicken skin treats that even my picky dog will happily eat. The Puffsters remind me of Funyuns (the crisp, airy onion-corn rings) in texture. I love these dog treats because they are low in calories, so I don’t feel guilty giving the dogs a few extra.
3. Play at the dog park.
Just because you get cold outside doesn’t mean your dog hates the winter weather. Some pups love bounding through snow drifts or sniffing the chilly air. Try going to your local dog park where you can watch your pet run and play while you sip a cup of hot cocoa. We put dog sweaters on our fur babies to keep them cozy and limit their playtime to 20 minutes or so when the temperature is below freezing.
Yes, the video above was shot during the summer. Doesn’t the green grass look lovely! Come on, summer!! I’m ready for you!
4. Break in old toys.
Thanks to my past employment at a pet store and friends who still work there, we have an abnormal amount of toys for our fur kids. Sometimes we dump out the bins, unearth long forgotten toys and give them a good workout.
My weimaraner loves to play tug with her alligator and the bull terrier will prance and chase anything that squeaks. Dig out your dog’s favorite toy and play fetch, tug or hide and seek.
5. Book a daycare date.
I’m thankful that we have an amazing doggie daycare facility in our community. Sometimes we’ll book a day of play for the pups. The Bed and Biscuit lets dogs of a similar size run and play together in their outdoor fenced yard and in an indoor (warm!) activity room in the top of their barn. The pups explore agility equipment, do projects, enjoy treats and play ball with the daycare staff.
What is your dog’s favorite treat or playtime activity during winter? Comment below!
Until next time,
Disclosure: The Loving Pets dog treats mentioned in this blog post were provided free of charge for review purposes. All thoughts expressed on Cupcakes and Yoga Pants are solely my own. ~Angela
Note: This post was updated on July 19, 2020.