Cold winter weather can limit the time pet parents spend outside with their dogs. But your dog still needs activity and stimulation in the colder months. Here are some tips to exercise your pets when the weather is challenging.

1. Walk Your Dog
During winter, you can still take your dog outside for a walk. Pet parents should shorten their outdoor walking times during cold weather months but not eliminate them. Walking provides dogs with essential exercise and mental stimulation according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Dogs love to explore new scents and smells beyond your home plus walking burns excess calories and keeps them fit.

2. Make Treats an Adventure
Motivate your pet to get extra exercise by making them work for their treats. Try hiding your dog’s treats inside a toy (there are many toys made just for this purpose). The toys will release treats for your pet to eat as they play, and the exercise strengthens your dog’s problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills. Additionally, this indoor physical activity burns calories.

3. Use Stairs for Retrieval Games
If you have stairs in your home, you can toss a toy up the stairs for your pet to retrieve. If your dog plays fetch, this is a fun activity that stimulates fun and burns off calories in a short period of time.

4. Hone Training Skills with Indoor Training
During inclement weather, use the indoor time to train your dog. Training helps dogs learn to socialize. Guide them through obedience commands. Teach your pet how to politely greet guests. Show them how to properly walk while leashed. Dog training will give your canine physical activity while learning basic manners.

5. Schedule Outings and Playdates
Take your dog out to local parks and let him sniff and frolic. Schedule a playdate at your house with friends who have dogs that enjoy other dogs.

6. Take Them to a Dog Daycare
Your canine will receive exercise, stimulation and socialization at a dog daycare. Your pet can play with other dogs and, at the same time, burn off huge amounts of energy. Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxed, tired dog in the evening when you’re winding down the day? These tips will help keep your pet healthy and happy during winter as well as keep him from becoming obese and lethargic.