The holidays are in full swing and colder winter weather is upon us. This is a perfect time to remind ourselves about our pets’ needs and how we can keep them healthy.
Winter Exercise Schedule For those who live in cold winter climates, it may be necessary to get creative and form some new exercise habits to give our furry family members the exercise that they need all year. Ideally, apartment dogs should be getting at least one long walk per day, with at least two shorter trips outside to relieve themselves. Since it gets dark much earlier during the winter, take a look at your schedule to make sure your pet is getting at least one long walk in. Consider changing their longer walk to morning if it is too dark after work in the afternoon, or if your work schedule allows, taking a lunch break to walk your pet at that time. On days when the weather is extreme, be sure to have some good indoor playtime with your pet to give them some much needed exercise.
Protection from the Elements During cold winter nights, please be sure to always bring your pets inside. Give them a designated dog bed or bundle of towels or blankets in their own nook to be warm, comfortable and safe. In extreme cold, it can be life-threatening for them to be left outside, even for short periods of time. Some people choose to purchase snow boots to protect their dogs’ feet in freezing temperatures. Sweaters and rain jackets are also available for dogs who are willing! If your dog gets wet outside on a regular basis, consider leaving an old towel folded up by the door to give them a good dry-off and keep your apartment clean.
Include them in the Festivities or Make Alternate Arrangements Many people’s schedules get even busier during the holidays, which can cause pets to be alone for longer stretches of time. Dogs are very social, and aside from missing a walk or a bathroom break, it is also very lonely for them to be alone for too long. If your holiday gathering is pet friendly, consider bringing them along. If this isn’t an option, consider an alternate arrangement such as having them stay with a friend or family member for the day or arranging a dog-walker when needed.
Pets are family, and these reminders will help them to feel as loved as ever during the holiday and winter season.