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Fun things to do with your dog this winter

We’ve been feeling the chill in the air at our local animal hospital, Wahroonga (and surrounds)! It may not be light, sunny or warm enough to enjoy your daily walk with your dog, but you can keep up exercise and stimulation. Your dog needs exercise and stimulation to remain happy, content and healthy.

So we’ve put together some tips on what you can do with your dog on the cold, wet wintery days based on some of the techniques we use at our local animal hospital and as pet parents

Try dog games 

local animal hospital winter

Photo by Matthew Henry

Dogs are curious creatures that like play. This makes them ideal candidates for indoor games. Your dog would love a game of hide and seek in a pet friendly part of the house.

You can easily facilitate playing hide and seek by distracting your dog with a toy and then disappearing into some other part of the house. Stay hidden, but call out ‘come’ intermittently.

Let your dog’s nose and ears do the work. Once your found, you can reinforce the good response to finding you by treating and congratulating.

Not only is it a fun indoor game that keeps your pet occupied, it also reinforces the ‘come’ command and keeps their hearing and nose sharp.

Use pet puzzles to the best advantage

You can get all kinds of wonderful toys and puzzles for dogs. Kong Wobblers are great for loading up with a meal of kibble and allowing your dog to wobble their way to dinner.

Another hot top is the range of Nina Ottoson pet toys on the market. They have great shifting puzzles and boards built strong for curious pups and dogs. They are great too because they are created to help teach pets and keep them sharp.

All kinds of Kongs and chew toys can help clean the teeth while also distracting your dog and keeping them entertained. We have a great range of dog toys at your local animal hospital, Fox Valley Animal Hospital, that you can put through their paces.

If you’re also looking to do things cheaply, you can use boxes and other items to craft games out of cardboard.

The aim of the game is to burn off the excess energy through enrichment and mental stimulation.

Doggy exercise equipment

You can also purchase dog treadmills and walkers, or experiment with using your own at home. Be warned though, it does take a while to encourage a dog to use a treadmill- and an awful lot of praise and treats.

This is the sort of thing where we’d advise you to seek handy tips and advice from the vet nurses about using this kind of equipment. The general rule would be to introduce your dog at an early age and be patient with them as they adopt it. You’ll need to treat and encourage with lots of praise.

Never allow your dog to use a treadmill unsupervised and don’t force an unwilling dog or puppy to use a treadmill. If you are using the one you use, also make sure the size of the treadmill is appropriate for your dog. And that you ensure safe usage.

If in doubt, don’t try it out. We’d hate to suggest you try something that resulted in the trip to the local animal hospital if your pet decides they have other ideas!

Consider doggy daycare

The benefits of making use of doggy daycare include providing that much needed winter exercise, offering the chance to socialise with humans and pets alike, all while ensuring the best quality care for your family pet.

Whether you want to use the service casually or as a regular visitor, you will need to make an appointment at most dog daycares. Your dog also needs to be well, up to date with their inoculations and well socialised to avoid any issues with other dogs.

If you are unsure if your dog is up-to-date or if you need records for your chosen dog daycare, give us a call on (02) 9489 4805.

Keep the routine going

Both you and your dog need to enjoy the environment, get mental stimulation and exercise. Winter is no different. That’s why we encourage you to keep to your usual exercise routine where possible.

Dogs need to keep their muscles, bones and limbs limber and flexible. Regular exercise is the best way to ensure that. So do what you can to stay to normal routine.

That’s why we stock a range of all-weather jackets for dogs in a variety of sizes and colours. That way, you can and your dog can still exercise in comfort.

We also have a great range of dog pajamas so that post walk, you can dry your dog off and pop them in a nice set of dog pajamas for a well earned nap.

Pop into your local animal hospital at Wahroonga and check out the range today!

Be mindful of changes in health

If you find that your dog is experiencing stiffness and soreness with the cold weather, please come to visit us. Stiffness can be a sign of things like arthritis or other issues. The best way to ensure your dog is pain free and comfortable as well as minimise any damage to your dog’s hip or leg joints is to have an examination.

Help is also at hand if you find that old age or arthritis are a new part of your dog’s life. We have some good medications that help alleviate pain and symptoms. Plus we have all kinds of food and supplements that can help your dog stay as healthy as possible.

Weight is a contributing factor to poor bone and joint health in dogs. So please don’t ignore any changes in movement in your dog during colder months. Seek veterinary advice and let local animal hospital Fox Valley Animal Hospital help your dog live a happy, healthy and mobile life.

Still want advice on winter activities for your dog?

Call our vet nurses on (02) 9489 4805. We’re always happy to help you make the most out of your time with your dog, no matter the season. From food to toys, advice and medication, tips on exercise and ideas for games to play, we’ve got you covered.

Want to shine in winter with your pet? Check out all the options your local animal hospital has on offer now!  

About the Author
Owner and Vet Alex Brittan, Vet Katie Syms and the team of Fox Valley Animal Hospital pride themselves on quality service. Fox Valley Animal Hospital is the one you choose for your family pet when the care your animal receives really matters.