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How To Help Your Dog Beat The Winter Blues

How To Help Your Dog Beat The Winter Blues

Brrrr, It’s Cold Outside!

As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, many of us start to feel the winter blues creeping in. The lack of sunlight, endless gray skies, and cabin fever can make even the most cheerful person feel a little down in the dumps. But did you know our canine companions can suffer from the winter blues too?

Just like us, our furry friends can get bored, restless, and depressed when they’re stuck indoors for long stretches of time. And let me tell you, a bored dog is not a happy dog! They may start acting out with destructive behaviors like excessive barking, chewing, or having accidents in the house.

Experts at the Animal Behavior College say that being cooped up can really take a toll on our pups. They thrive on variety and new experiences, so when their daily routines get disrupted, it can lead to some serious case of the winter blues.

But fear not, my fellow dog lovers! I’m here to share some of my favorite tips and tricks to help your four-legged friend beat the winter blues and stay happy and healthy all season long. So, grab a cozy blanket, pour yourself a hot cup of cocoa, and let’s dive in!

Get Moving, Rain or Shine

One of the most important things you can do to help your dog beat the winter blues is to maintain a regular walking routine, rain, snow, or shine. I know it can be tempting to just let them run around the backyard instead, but experts say that’s just not enough.

Dogs thrive on variety, so taking them out for a good ol’ fashioned walk where they can sniff new smells, hear unfamiliar sounds, and feel different textures under their paws is key to keeping them mentally stimulated. And let’s be honest, a little fresh air and exercise does wonders for our own mood too!

If you’re struggling to find the time to get your pup out during the day, hiring a professional dog walker can be a total game-changer. Giving your furry friend the chance to go on an outdoor adventure with a trusted walker is often the highlight of their day. Just be sure to vet them thoroughly and ask about their COVID-19 safety protocols.

Let Them Play, Play, Play!

Another great way to beat the winter blues is to give your dog plenty of opportunities to play and socialize. When the weather is too cold or snowy for long outdoor adventures, an indoor doggy daycare can be an amazing solution.

Doggy daycares provide a safe, controlled environment where your pup can run, play, and make new friends. Just be sure to do your research and find one that’s a good fit for your dog’s temperament and energy level. As the experts at the ASPCA point out, daycare isn’t for every dog, so it’s important to consider your pup’s individual needs.

If your dog is on the shyer side or just doesn’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of daycare, hiring a one-on-one dog walker might be a better fit. They can provide that crucial outdoor exercise and mental stimulation without the added stress of a group setting.

Engage Their Minds

While physical activity is super important, don’t forget to give your dog’s brain a workout too! Trainer Ken Nolte says that short training sessions throughout the day can be a great way to release pent-up energy and prevent destructive behaviors.

Things like practicing basic commands, playing hide-and-seek, or even teaching your pup some new tricks can go a long way in keeping them happy and engaged. And the best part? You get to bond with your furry friend in the process.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even sign your dog up for an agility or obedience class. Not only is it a great way to exercise their bodies and minds, but it can also be a ton of fun for both of you! Just be sure to check for any COVID-19 safety protocols before signing up.

Puzzle Toys and Chew-y Distractions

We all know that a bored dog can quickly turn into a destructive one, so it’s important to have a good arsenal of toys and chews on hand to keep them entertained.

Trainer Ken Nolte cautions against letting your pup use squeaky toys as chew toys, as they can quickly destroy them and potentially swallow dangerous pieces. Instead, he recommends sturdy rope toys for a good game of tug-of-war, or long-lasting chews like bully sticks or flavored bones.

Another great option is to stuff Kongs or marrow bones with peanut butter, treats, or even frozen chicken broth. This not only satisfies your dog’s natural chewing instincts, but it can also keep them entertained for hours on end.

And don’t forget about those brain-stimulating puzzle toys! While Nolte isn’t a huge fan, some dogs, especially those with a strong prey drive like Retrievers, can really enjoy the mental challenge. Just be sure to choose one that’s appropriate for your pup’s size and skill level.

Make Time for Bonding

Last but not least, don’t forget the importance of good old-fashioned quality time with your furry friend. Curling up on the couch with a good book and your dog by your side can be the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

Whether you’re snuggling up for a Netflix binge or trying your hand at some DIY enrichment activities, the key is to make sure your pup feels loved, appreciated, and engaged. After all, dogs are our best friends, and they deserve all the attention and affection we can give them, especially during the long, dark days of winter.

So, there you have it, my fellow dog lovers! With a little creativity and a whole lot of love, you can help your canine companion beat the winter blues and stay happy and healthy all season long. Now, who’s ready to go on an adventure with their four-legged friend?

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