For many of us, as temperatures drop, our motivation to do anything but retreat indoors also reaches new lows. This desire to hibernate is for the most part natural, but can be at odds with our physical and mental wellness and take a toll on our dogs as well. But don’t fret yet, pets, there are plenty of small measures you can take every day to keep both you and your pup healthy and happy all winter long.
Depending on where you and your dog live, sunny days might be scarce during the winter months, making soaking up the sunshine even more important. Like humans, our dogs benefit from daily doses of Vitamin D naturally occurring in sunlight. Spending time in the sun has positive effects on a dog’s mood and immune system, and can actually help him or her heal quicker when dealing with minor injuries or ailments.
Tip: Aim to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes three days per week outside in the daylight with your pup. If you’re in a region that doesn’t get a ton of natural sunlight this time of year, try to schedule your pup’s walks after sunrise or before sunset to get the most out of these excursions.
We get it, it’s natural to want to rush through your pup’s daily walk(s) and get out of the cold or back to whatever work or chore awaits you. Even if you don’t have all of the time in the world, it’s important to use this time to connect with your pup and stay present for them and yourself. Got 30 minutes? Explore a new-to-them route and let your pup sniff a little longer.
Tip: Leave your phone at home or at least in your pocket. Staying focused on your pup and your walk will help prevent a mental avalanche of all the things you need to do and keep both of you in the moment.
Sitting all day can take a toll on both you and your dog. Similarly, transitioning from long periods of inactivity to sudden, intense workouts (or walks) can be more harmful than helpful. We suggest taking time throughout your day to stand up with your pup and move, even if for a few minutes at a time.
If you have a little extra time to spare, these bodyweight exercises can turn a casual stroll into a heart-pumping workout for both you and your dog.
Pressed on time or space? These indoor workouts keep the gym close to home. From a full-on indoor run sesh to a quick game of tug-of-war, find the workout that works best for you and your pup and make time to take time to get moving.
Tip: be sure to have a savory snack handy to treat your pup for a job well done.
Playtime is non-negotiable. Whether you have to schedule your downtime in 30-minute blocks or not is up to you, but it’s imperative that both you and your pup have time to just play. Take time each day to let loose and play with your pup without the fetters of a leash or structured training.
Tip: Grab their favorite toy, put on your favorite song, and forget your to-do list for a little while.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
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