Those of us that live in northern regions are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to exercising with our pets during the winter months; unfortunately for many people it’s not a lot of fun to toss a Frisbee around or go for a walk with their dog when the temperature hits those frigid numbers. Even though it’s cold and sometimes miserable, you still need to exercise with your dog during these months to maintain his health both physically and mentally. There are plenty of ways you can exercise with your dog inside, and we’re going to give you some ideas, but you make sure you venture outside for some play and exercise too! If you’re dressed properly for it, you might even enjoy it.

1)    Play a game.  Chances are that you’ve made up some sort of game for you and your pet to play.  Do this more often when the weather makes walks impractical.  Try hide-and-seek to get your dog up and moving, as well as mentally engaged.  All you have to do is hide a treat and then hide from her.  This will tire her out as she runs around the house searching; it’s also a great way to bond with your pet!

2)    Challenge your dog’s nose.  This is an especially creative way to get your dog to think/work for her food.  Create an obstacle course she has to get through for her favorite meal.  This type of game is also mentally stimulating and will keep her occupied. 

3)    Try a treadmill.  There are treadmills out there made specifically for dogs, but they can be quite pricey.  If you can’t afford it, use a human treadmill, but take the right precautions.  Familiarize your dog with how it works.  Start out at a very slow speed, slowly increasing it and the amount of time your pup spends walking on the device.  Keep working up to the amount of time you normally spend on walks.

4)    Dog exercise classes. This is a great way to exercise with your dog, provide socialization opportunities and boost her mental agility. Classes you may find for dogs include indoor agility and swimming classes; these also offer an opportunity for you to bond and have fun with your pet.

5)    Bundle up and GO OUTSIDE!  The only way you will overcome your “fear” of the chilly winter months is by actually going outside and figuring out how to enjoy it.  Your dog will get a great workout by running and plowing through the snow.  He probably won’t even notice that he’s exercising until he’s too exhausted to keep going.  Play catch, go for a walk, or simply just play around in the snow for some extra winter fun. Get some tips for pet safety during the winter months.

Winter doesn’t have to mean weight gain and bordeom for your pet... or for you!  Try all of the above exercises to keep your dog in top notch shape.  Come spring time, the two of you won’t need to make up for the lost time.