In extreme cold weather, it's best not to send your dog outside for an extended period of time. Christina Holland, Animal Health Technologist with Heartland Veterinary Clinic, says there is an alternative to get your dog active that you may not be aware of.

"There are a lot of big box stores that are very, very pet friendly, where you can just take your dog and walk them around and burn off some energy, let them meet new people, smell new things."

Holland said many stores that don't sell food, such as Rona, Bass Pro Shops and Home Depot, will allow you to walk your dog indoors. She suggests phoning ahead to find out what their rules are about walking pets indoors, which may be as simple as keeping them on a leash.

If you can't leave the house, there are other things you can do to get your dog moving.

"You can utilize all different surfaces in your home. You can use their little breakfast kibbles and throw them up and down the stairs so that your dog gets a little bit of a sprint."

Holland said that exercise is just as often about the mind as it is about the body, and suggested buying a puzzle dish to give them a new mental challenge while feeding them.

Holland also highlighted the importance of keeping your dog warm, so that they stay safe and comfortable.

"My two dogs, they're big dogs but they're kind of princesses. They go out for three seconds, they come back lifting their foot, so they get cold very quickly. If you think about it, if you were to put your naked hand into a pile of snow, you'd get cold super, super fast."

Holland said short walks are okay, but you should also consider putting as many layers on your dog as you would on yourself.

 

Questions, comments or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

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