One of the most significant problems facing dogs in America today is that they have, much like us, become too sedentary. However, there are dog owners who regularly exercise their pets much more than a simple stroll around the block. For those who go the extra mile, tips for doing the best exercise for dogs can be helpful, especially when the temperature starts to drop. While caution is always required for taking pets out in the snow and ice to protect their delicate foot pads, cool and cold weather in the fall must be taken into account as well. Depending on the breed of your canine, Fall River dog owners will want to prepare for the cold in different ways. If you are unsure of the best course of action for your pup, make sure to schedule an appointment with Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth to consult with an experienced Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian.
Best Breeds for Cold Weather
If you know that you will want to get outdoors and exercise year-round, it all starts in the breed that you select to adopt. Even mixed breeds that contain one or more of the breeds listed here may be well-suited for outdoor exercise in the late fall through early spring months in New England as well. However, just because they designed for cold weather does not mean that you should not prepare for the season and ensure that they are protected from the elements. It just means that these breeds are much more likely to adapt to cold weather than the others. Thick warm coats, great strength, and considerable size are all traits held in common with these beautiful “snow” dogs.
The best cold weather dog breeds include:
- Siberian Husky
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Alaskan Malamute
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Chow Chow
- Great Pyrenees
- Saint Bernard
You will notice that there are not any small breed dogs on this list. While there are smaller breeds that have thick fur, such as the Pomeranian, they are not particularly well-suited for extremely cold temperatures. If you have smaller breeds or even larger breeds that have short hair or are unhappy in cooler temperatures, consider clothing. Sweaters, thick vests, coats, and other types of cold protection can make a big difference. The clothing should cover your pet from the base of the neck to the top of the tail, providing full protection of the whole underside of your pet. Dog booties are great to prevent snow, ice, and de-icing chemicals from getting in between your pet’s toes. They are also great for keeping muddy footprints to a minimum, as they can be pulled off upon entering the home, just like your own muddy shoes or boots.
So What is the Best Exercise for Dogs in the Fall?
In truth, the best exercise for your furry friend is the one that he will do eagerly and willingly. Some dogs are more active indoors when it gets cold; going outside only to do their “business” before coming right back inside. If that sounds like your dog, you can try doing cool weather walks in the neighborhood, take him to the dog park to go through the obstacle courses and play areas, or consider setting up an exercise area in your own backyard. However, indoor exercise can be just as important and helpful in keeping your dog active and engaged during the cooler months. Instead of sitting curled up in front of the fire waiting for his next meal, give him something to be excited about that gets him up and moving.
An indoor game of fetch, a “hide the treat” game in your living room, a friendly “tug of war” before bedtime, or a bit of tag all throughout the house. Cool weather activities don’t just benefit your dog; they can be a real advantage to you as well. Both people and dogs can be susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can be combatted with lots of exercise and a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins. If your dog is uninterested in activities even when using treats as an incentive, you might want to speak with your Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian about using supplements. Vitamin D has been shown to help work for dogs suffering from this depressing disorder – and people as well. Keep an eye out for dietary issues, as some breeds will require an increase in calories to maintain a healthy weight, while others may need to cut back on treats to avoid gaining weight during the fall and winter months.
If your dog shows any signs of SAD or has any other seasonal issues that should be looked at by a professional, contact Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth to schedule an appointment. Watch their skin and coat daily if your dog spends a good amount of time outdoors. Check for any matting, spotty hair loss, or itchy skin and give us a call at 508-996-3731 if you have any concerns about the health of your pet.