Exercise is important for every member of a family, including the family dog. According to SPCA Florida, regular exercise is just as important for dogs as it is for their owners.
Many dog owners find ways to incorporate their dogs into their own exercise routines in order to ensure their four-legged friends get enough physical activity each day. For example, dogs might come along on jogs around the neighborhood or join their owners on walks in the park. But what about those times when the weather is extreme? Snowstorms and heat waves might compromise dog owners’ efforts to get their pooches daily exercise, but there are many ways that dog owners can work around extreme weather to ensure Fido gets enough physical activity to stay healthy.
- Alter the time of your dog’s daily exercise routine: In conditions that are extremely hot, dog owners can change their routines so dogs get out and get some exercise during the times of day when the weather is temperate. Early morning and evening or even nighttime exercise sessions afford chances to run around outdoors without doing so under the blazing summer sun. If walking dogs after sundown, dress them in reflective materials so they’re visible to oncoming motorists.
- Dress dogs for the cold: Dogs can be bundled up just like their owners bundle up in gloves and layers when spending time outside in cold weather. Salt and chemical deicing solutions can injure dogs, burning and drying out their paws, so make sure their paws are covered before taking them outside in icy, snowy conditions. Dogs may need a few practice runs wearing booties indoors before they’re comfortable enough to wear them outside without trying to remove them. In addition, Petfinder recommends keeping dogs’ bodies warm by dressing them in doggy jackets or vests.
- Reduce the length of time spent outdoors: Cutting back on the time dogs spend outdoors in extreme weather is another way to protect them from the elements. Shorter, more frequent trips can ensure dogs get enough daily exercise while limiting their exposure to extreme weather. If dogs are accustomed to 30 minutes of running around in the backyard in the afternoon, break that down to three 10-minute sessions instead, spacing out each sessions so dogs have time to recuperate.
- Exercise indoors, if necessary: Avoid exercising dogs outdoors in especially extreme conditions. Rather than exposing dogs to extreme weather, make a game out of running up and down staircases or play fetch in a hallway to help dogs burn off their energy and get some exercise.