We have some good news and bad news this winter… The good news is, humans aren’t the only ones who tend to gain weight. The bad news is, our pets are also prone to expansion when it’s chilly outside. Don’t blame yourself- it’s perfectly understandable to skip a morning walk when it’s 25 degrees outside, but that doesn’t change the fact that losing the weight once it’s on can be difficult for pets. While we’re well aware that cold weather provides fewer opportunities for outside activity, here are a few small ways to keep your pet’s weight in check this winter.
1. Consider Feeding (or Treating) a Little Less.
During winter months, consider scaling pets’ portions down just a sliver to account for less activity. Do your best to gauge the intensity of their normal activity and serving size against their winter activity level and bring it down to scale.
2. A little snow never hurt anybody.
In fact, most dogs really enjoy playing in powder. So get out there! Bundle yourself up (you may consider a weatherproof coat for any short haired pets) and spend an hour hiking, playing fetch, or just running around in the snow. When you get home, be sure to clear their paws of any ice and watch them snooze away in front of the fireplace.
*Pro-Tip: According to the SPCA, more dogs get lost in winter than any other season so make sure their chips and/or tags are up to date and secure.
3. Training or agility classes.
Not only will it refresh their memory on how to behave, but training your pet is a form of activity (plus it enhances your bond.) Whether you have a trainer come over, enroll them in a nearby class, or vow to train them for half an hour twice a week at home, training and agility will stimulate them physically and mentally.
4. Play dates.
Most dog people have other dog-loving friends, making winter play dates a great way for both of you to socialize and move your joints. You get to catch up with a pal and your dog gets to run around, play, and sniff new smells (which is good for mental stimulation, too.)
5. Slow Feeders.
For dogs who eat too quickly, a slow feeder may be the trick to help them digest a little slower and possibly feed them a little less. Look online for one that won’t frustrate your pup and see how they do at mealtime.
What are some winter activities you enjoy with your pet? Tell us on Twitter using @HamiltonPet.