Most dog owners-and many dogs, for that matter-baulk at the idea of going for a walk when the weather is really nasty, such as when it is cold and icy, pouring with rain, or generally horrible outside! However, dogs still need exercise, stimulation and the chance to stretch their legs when the weather is bad, and during the winter, there are often times when you might find yourself wracking your brains to find ways to entertain your dog.
Exercise and mental stimulation should not be neglected when the weather is bad, and it is important to have a plan and some ideas for how you intend to meet all of your dog’s needs when the weather is foul. In this article, we will share some tips and advice for how to keep your dog entertained when the weather is awful and you don’t fancy going outside!
Exactly how easy or challenging it is to meet all of your dog’s needs for exercise when the weather is bad may well largely depend on how large your home is, and how it is set up! However, even if you live in a small apartment, there are likely to be several things that you can do to help your dog to let off steam without venturing outside.
Encouraging your dog to run up and down your stairs will help to provide a full body workout for your dog (and you, if you choose!) and provides a more effective form of cardiovascular exercise than walking alone. However, make sure that your dog does not overexert themselves, particularly if they are small, young, or you need to keep an eye on their hip health.
Playing with balls and toys that require throwing is not such a good idea inside, but you can also teach your dog tricks or work to refresh their skills in a relatively small space. In order to provide a proper workout, make sure to warm your dog up and give them time to cool down afterwards, just as you would on a walk.
As mentioned, toys that need to be thrown are a poor choice for playing inside for obvious reasons, but there are plenty of alternatives! Interactive toys and those that squeak or provide other forms of feedback can help to keep your dog entertained, as can things that you can do with your dog, such as playing tug of war with a rope.
There are loads of different types of games that you can play indoors with your dog, and games such as hide and seek or treasure hunting for treats are usually popular with all dogs! You can set up a simple treasure hunt for your dog by closing them into a room for a few minutes while you hide toys and treats around the house, then let them out and encourage them to go on the hunt, encouraging them and taking part in the chase with them to keep it interesting!
Thinking outside of the box is the key to rainy day success, and if you have a quick look around your local area, you may find a range of viable alternatives to walks when it comes to exercise. Is there a doggy daycare facility nearby? Checking your dog in for an afternoon will give them a chance to play with other dogs, enjoy soft play and the chance to exercise and have fun in a way that they would not normally be able to, and this can be a great pick for horrible weather.
Canine hydrotherapy is another option, and while many people think hydrotherapy is only designed for recuperation from injury or illness, swimming is great exercise for all dogs, even those in the peak of fitness!
Even really foul weather has to let up now and then, so keep a close eye on the weather forecasts and try to find a window of an hour or so when the weather is going to let up, and take this opportunity to take your dog out for their normal walk.
Even if you really don’t want to go outside, you will still have to make provision for your dog to do their business at the normal times, so don’t neglect this. Also, dogs really do need to be walked, because they benefit from a huge range of different things including fresh air, the chance to socialise and much more, so while finding an alternative for a day is fine, remember that you can’t substitute indoor exercise or play for walks on a regular basis!
Many dogs are not at all bothered by bad weather, and some actively enjoy it-so sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go for it. Get yourself and your dog prepared to face the weather and head out, planning for plenty of running around to keep you both warm, and of course, prepare to get your dog clean, dry and warm when you get back home.