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Fun Ways to Warm Up Winter

Monday, December 19, 2011
Fun Ways to Warm Up Winter
The nights are colder, the days are shorter and your dog's favorite chew toy is buried under ten inches of snow. What a perfect day to play with your dog.

The nights are colder, the days are shorter and your dog's favorite chew toy is buried under ten inches of snow. What a perfect day to play with your dog. Here are few games you can try to help boost your dog's energy and fitness level over the next few winter months.

Treasure Hunt
Try burying a stick, toy or even a treat in the snow. Then sit back and watch his natural tracking instinct kick in. For dogs that require a bit of help finding their reward, try hiding the object closer to your dog at first, then slowly burying it further away the better your dog gets at the game.

Fetch, Catch and Beyond
If your dog loves to fetch or catch rubber balls chances are he will love trying to do the same with snowball. Be prepared to make a large stockpile of snowballs!

The Big Roll
If you live near a hilly park trying rolling snowballs down the bank. Your dog won't be able to get enough chasing and pouncing.

Hide & Seek
This game is ideal for two or more people. Have one person hold your dog while you go and hide, then have the dog come find you. Make sure you chose a familiar and less enclosed setting with well-trained dogs.

Snow Shoe
If the snow isn't outrageously deep, you can always have your dog join you for a snowshoe walk. Keep in mind you may have to leash your dog so be aware of the local park or trail bylaws.

Playing Safe
Regardless of the season, safety should always remain top of mind when playtime rolls around. Here are a couple of safety tips to remember before and after venturing outside during the cold months.

Pace
Don't over work your dog and start with small simple activities at first. Cold temperatures are worse for dogs that suffer form arthritis and joint conditions.

Warmth
If you're planning on being outside for an extended period of time, bundle your dog up! Many dogs do succumb to hypothermia in the winter.

Paws
Watch for icicles and snow building up on your dog's paws. They make walking and running uncomfortable for your pet. Sidewalk salt can also cause your dog's footpads to crack. Consider a pair of booties or rubbing your dog's feet with a petroleum jelly product before each walk.

Water
Often people just associate dehydration with heat and sweating. Your dog can become just as dehydrated playing in the snow. So be sure to carry a bottle of fresh drinking water for your dog. It's cleaner and healthier than letting him eat snow.

With a little imagination, both you and your dog can stay in shape, have some fun and make those cold winter days and night something to look forward to.

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