Pet Fit Tips – Winter

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It’s time to pull on the winter woollies and snuggle up in front of a roaring fire…but before you get too cosy, Pet Insurance Australia has some top tips to ensure your pet stays fit and healthy over the winter months.

As the winter winds whip across the country many pet owners will be shivering at the thought of the daily off-leash romp or brisk morning walk alongside their beloved pet. Needless to say, many dogs are also reluctant to hit the pavement during a cold snap, particularly first thing in the morning.

So how can you keep up with your winter walks, to ensure come spring a battle of the bulge is not at play?

“It’s important for all pet owners to consider a winter fitness schedule to ensure that your dog is getting adequate exercise during the cooler months,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “This can be as easy as making a winter pledge and sticking it up on the refrigerator or changing the times of your daily walks.”

Sadly, many pet owners completely abolish the daily walks in favour of a snuggle in the warmth, but this can spell disaster for an active dog.

“When dogs are not adequately exercised or entertained they can become destructive,” Crighton warns. “A white fluffy pillow being ripped to shreds is wonderful entertainment for a dog, and if your dog has not had their daily run, this energy may be released in less desirable ways.”

WINTER FIT TIPS

  • Time – reconsider the time you walk your dog. Can you whip home during lunch for a quick run? Or can you replace the early morning run for a longer run in the evenings when you return from work?
  • Activity – increase your activity from a walk or stroll to a jog or run to get warm. Always ensure you start slowly and gradually increase the amount of exertion and be considerate of your dog’s age and amount of activity.
  • Pledge – make a pledge to yourself and your dog that regardless of the weather you will not miss a walk or a good off-leash run. Pop this up on the fridge and stick to your promise, your dog will love you for it (and so will his/her waistline).
  • Adventure – find a new adventure. Try going on a trail run on the weekends or discovering a new off leash beach. Regardless of the weather your dog will love burning off energy at a new spot full of interesting scents and sounds.
  • Gear – invest in a good weather-proof jacket for yourself and one for your dog. Have a towel ready at the back door or in the car. Even prepare a warm bucket of water for muddy wet paws. Go over the top to keep warm, think gloves and beanie’s.
  • Monitor – write down the days you missed a walk and be honest. If you notice that you are missing more and more due to the weather it may be time to make a new pledge.
  • Training – on really cold wet days, consider flexing your dog’s brain with some new training tricks or games. These can be done inside.

“Some dogs will make it very clear that they do not want to go outside during cold weather,” Crighton says. “But it’s also good to remember that your dog being reluctant to go outside for the toilet and going for a walk is completely different.”

So, before you gauge if your dog wants to pack in the towel when it comes to their morning walk, Pet Insurance Australia has one tip…

“Pick up the leash…nine times out of 10 your dog will go ballistic wanting to go for a run and completely forget about the cold weather outside.”

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