30th October 2018
With the clocks going back, the dark days drawing in and the drop in temperature, our dogs may be a little droopier than usual. They may seem sadder & less playful during the wintertime, but just because the dark mornings are drawing in and the evenings are getting chillier, we shouldn’t let that put a stop to our pet’s fun. Pet parents worry that the cold, frosty months could make their dog feel down or less active. It’s true that your dog may be a little droopier in the darker months due to them conserving energy for thermo regulation.
They may seem sadder and less playful during the wintertime due to a lack of melatonin or serotonin, which are both influenced by sunlight and exercise. So, how can we banish those blues and keep our dogs active and happy during the dreary winter months?
From indoor dog parks to doggy dance classes, spa days and pooch brunches – here’s our guide to winter activities with your dog.
From Wales to West Yorkshire, indoor dog parks are popping up all over the country. Indoor dog parks often run agility and obedience courses amongst high quality artificial grass, park benches and tunnels. Expect toys, tunnels, ball pits, paddling pools, flyball, sprinklers and even dog-friendly cafes dishing up freshly prepared food for your pooches after their park workout.
Not only will indoor dog parks give your pup the chance to safely run around off their lead during the winter months, but they’ll also get chance to socialise with other pooches who may be less likely to be playing outdoors on dark evenings.
Whatever size or breed of dog, doggy treadmills are perfect for unpredictable weather – particularly for high energy breeds or overweight pups. If it’s just too cold, wet or icy outside, a dog treadmill is a great investment to make sure that your furry friend never misses out on their much-needed exercise. With the necessary precautions, human treadmills can also be used so that both paws and feet are getting their daily dose of steps.
With its basis in obedience training, doggy dancing – officially known as ‘Heelwork to Music or ‘Canine Freestyle’, involves creating a choreographed routine set to music where your dog displays their skills and obedience as well as showcasing how well you and your pup communicate.
Not only is heelwork to music a fun form of exercise for your dog, it will also help to strengthen the bond between pets and their parents. Dog dance classes are available to teach your dog moves such as walk back, weave, round, wiggle and boogie. Who knows, your pup may be the next Britain’s Got Talent champ!
Exercise aside, boosting your best furry friend’s mood during wintertime can be just as important. Dog-friendly pubs are extremely popular these days, which gets two paws up from us pet parents. In some of today’s top dog-friendly pubs, you’ll even find a ‘Pooch Menu’, which your furry punter can wash down with their very own dog beer.
But the best news is that two of our favourite loves have now been combined with Dog Brunches! From up-market brasseries with delectable handmade biscuits to cute cafes serving Puguccinos, pupcakes and doggy afternoon tea, or gorgeous gastropubs plating up portions of dog-friendly breakfasts and even roast dinners featuring soft chopped brisket of beef and Yorkshire pudding in cat-flavoured gravy - even the grumpiest of dogs will leave with their tail wagging!
If your pooch deserves some pampering, dog day spa packages may include a hydro-massage bath using carefully-picked aromatherapy shampoo and conditioner, a soothing facial, relaxing head massage, pawdicure, ear cleanse, blow and fluff dry and full-body brushing. Dog-friendly light lunches are served in some pooch spas, followed by naps and cuddles set amongst relaxing spa music and diffused essential oils.
Haircuts and de-shedding treatments are also on offer to get your pooch well and truly prepped for the festive season.
In the wintertime when the lakes have frozen over and the sea’s too cold for paddling, heated hydrotherapy pools are the perfect option for pooches who love swimming and are craving a splash around. Or, for those furries who are suffering from the aches and pains of winter weather.
Not only is indoor swimming ideal for your dog’s exercise during the winter, it’s also a purr-fect way for them to burn off extra energy and release those vital endorphins.
Pools are packed with toys, making sure that both their body and mind are stimulated during swims. And for pups who are only just finding their fins, dog swimming lessons will have them doggy paddling in no time!
Christmas markets aren’t just for humans! This year, look into festive markets that have stalls dedicated to independent pet brands and artisan dog treats. There are plenty of dog-friendly markets on offer, where you’ll find food stalls, open space for your four-legged friend to freely roam around and delightful doggy boutiques where you can pick up some stocking-fillers specifically for the furries.
What could be more magical than a winter getaway with your family and pooch? Dog-friendly destinations offer rooms that welcome four-pawed guests with open arms. From barns to hotels and cosy log cabins, let them snuffle through the leaves, splash in the streams and dirty their paws in the muddy puddles before you enjoy some well-earned hot tub relaxation.
The wintery weather can leave your pup with chapped paws and flaky skin. If your dog is extra hairy, make sure to keep them trimmed to minimise clinging ice balls, salt crystals or de-icing chemicals and always check for snow, salt and grit between toes. Bring a towel on long walks to keep them dry or invest in some booties, which will keep their feet warm and safe.