Cruisin' Canines logo of a white dog with an orange background

Cruisin' Canines

Making Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Exercise in Winter

Exercise for your dog in the winter

When it gets cold outside, it makes sense that most of us avoid heading out for long dog walks multiple times a day. While your dog probably doesn’t mind staying inside where it’s warm, it’s still important to make sure that they get enough exercise all season long. Follow our tips to make sure that your dog stays in good shape. 1) Take Your Dog on More Frequent, But Shorter, Walks Just because it’s colder doesn’t mean that your dog should be stuck inside all day. Instead of 3 half-hour walks, try four 10 to 15 minute walks each day. If you can’t fit in more walks into your current schedule, you can bring on a dog walker to stop by your home a few times a week or once a day to help out.  On weekends, bring your pooch to the dog park where they can run around and enjoy some socialization with other dogs—this will tire them out pretty quickly, and you can head back home. 2) Bundle Up If you’d prefer to keep your dog’s schedule constant, you’ll have to bundle up—and we don’t just mean you wearing a heavy coat. Your dog will need to wear something to keep them warm, like a sweater or jacket, and if it’s icy or snowy outside, boots might be an appropriate way to keep their feet safe. Once you do come inside, make sure that you dry off your pup if it was snowy or wet outside, and if they weren’t wearing boots, wipe off their paws with warm water—pay extra attention between their toes—to remove ice melting chemicals and debris. 3) Sign Up for Doggy Daycare or Dogsitting Groups If you or someone you know works from home, and they also have dogs, you can suggest a meet-up wherein one of you watches both of the dogs indoors, and the dogs can wear each other out by playing with one another. Alternatively, sign your pet up for doggy daycare a few times a week, where they can go and play with a handful of other dogs. Ask anyone who’s had a dog go to daycare—their pet always comes home tired out. Not only is this good for socialization, it’s good exercise too! 4) Create New Ways to Exercise Indoors If your dog likes playing fetch outside, transition the activity to the inside of your home. Find a long hallway and have your dog play fetch in there. If you don’t have a long hallway in your house, try throwing a ball across the largest room in the house or play tug of war to help them burn off some energy. Another way to make sure your dog stays in shape over the winter is to reduce their food intake just slightly. Cutting back by just a few tablespoons a day can cut their calories enough to make up for slower-exercise months.

Safety Tips for Winter Car Traveling With Your Pet

If you’re going on car trips this winter and are planning on bringing your dog along, there are certain things you should do to ensure that everyone stays as safe as possible during the ride. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a quick trip, say, half an hour away—you should still follow our checklist to make sure that everyone has a good trip. 1) Warm Up the Car Before Starting to Drive This is less of a suggestion for engine efficiency and more of a suggestion for personal comfort and warmth. While your warm coat may protect you from feeling the chill of the first ten minutes of your trip while your heater revs up, your pooch may not have that luxury—though they do have fur, that may not be enough to keep them warm and cozy. Instead of suffering through it, just turn on the car a few minutes before you head out with the dog. 2) Bring Blankets Even if your car gets nice and toasty, it’s still a smart plan to have some blankets on hand, either to use as a dog bed in the backseat during drives or as a backup in case your car breaks down or you get into a car accident and you need a secondary way to stay warm. 3) Consider Using Dog Seatbelts With slick roadways and snowstorms, it’s not a bad plan to implement dog seat belts to ensure your dog stays put during more precarious driving conditions. Even if your dog is very well trained and stays put during car rides, any driver distraction when weather is bad can be the difference between safe traveling and a car accident, not to mention there’s always the possibility of needing to suddenly stop your car—in this instance, or if you slide on an icy road, you dog might get hurt if he or she is not secured in one spot. 4) Make Sure to Stop for Potty Breaks The stress and excitement of being in a car can be a lot to handle for some dogs—it’s important to let them relax every couple of hours for a few minutes by pulling over and letting them take a potty break. You don’t have to let them run around for too long, and of course only do so if there’s a safe place to so, but it’s important to let them get some air, especially on longer drives. 5) Bring Along Their Treats and Food Another precautionary measure, bringing along your pet’s food and some treats is a good idea just in case you get stuck somewhere for a long time and need to keep them occupied and calm, or if your car stalls somewhere and you have to find a new way to get to your destination (which will inevitably get your there later your original arrival time). Hungry dogs can become agitated, so it’s nice to have some snacks on hand for them. Drive safe this holiday season!

Don’t Let the Cold Weather Make Your Dog Fat

  When it gets cold outside, it can be understandably more difficult to find the motivation to take your dog on longer walks. You’re cold, they’re cold, and even with the cutest dog sweaters and jackets available, it’s still no fun being outside for any length of time. While it’s fine to shorten your dog walks a bit, it’s important to make sure that the winter weather doesn’t give cause for your pooch to make a New Year’s Resolution to hit the gym. Check out these helpful tips for keeping your dog’s beach body afloat all year long. 1) Play Fetch Inside Making your pet run the length of your house is an easy way to get them to burn off some energy (and calories) even when they’re not outside. If your dog isn’t great at playing fetch, you might have to get their toys for them in the beginning. You can train them to fetch using treats, but don’t go overboard, because then you’re back at square one. 2) Check to See if Your Neighborhood Has an Indoor Play Space Some cities and neighborhoods have indoor spots for dogs and their owners to gather so that the dogs can get some exercise and socialization without having to endure the cold. Find out if your town has one of these, and if so, take advantage of it (but only if your dog is good around other dogs, obviously). 3) Consider Doggy Daycare In a similar vein to indoor play spaces, you might want to consider dropping your pet off at a doggy daycare once or twice a week. This will not only keep them socialized and tired from playing, but they’ll get to run around all day and burn off some of that excess energy. 4) Hire a Dog Walker for More Walks If you’re not interested in full-day doggy daycare, another option to consider is bringing on a dog walker once a day or a couple times a week. This way, your dog can still enjoy outside time, but you won’t have to freeze out there with them. Most dog walking services, including Cruisin’ Canines, set up routine walks with your dog so that they can get regular exercise. 5) Feed Them Slightly Less Of course, like with humans, dogs can adjust their diet in accordance with activity level. Look at it like this: if you were training for a marathon, it would be fine to eat a few hundred extra calories a day. However, if you finished the marathon and stopped running altogether but kept up that diet, you’d gain weight. The same can be said for dogs—when they’re not walking as much, you can cut back on how much you’re feeding them. For instance, if they typically get a half cup every morning and night, cut it back by a few tablespoons per day—not enough to make your dog feel truly hungry, but just a few bites less to curb the difference from having shorter walks. Keeping your dog in good shape is essential for their overall health, not to mention better on their joints (and hey, it could save you a few bucks on their food over the next few months). Follow these tips and you’ll be worrying about how to avoid getting wet from spring showers in no time.

How to Make Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Exercise in Winter

To accomdate the cold start with short but frequent walks

Photo Credit: Outdoor exercise isn’t the only place that your dog can get some activity in. Play fetch inside—this is especially great if your home or apartment has a long hallway. You can also bring your pooch to a dog-owners meet-up ahere sometimes, an indoor play space is rented out for people to get their dogs to socialize when it is too cold for dog park visits. Alternatively, you can bring your dog to the local pet store where you can browse for the pet supplies you need to buy anyway while getting a little bit of indoor walking in. This might not be the best or most convenient idea, but it helps in a pinch. Indoor Entertainment With the temperatures dropping rapidly and Chicago winter becoming all too real, it’s hard for a lot of dog owners to be able to give their dogs the exercise they need. It gets more difficult to go on long walks when it’s too cold to be outside for more than 10 minutes, and a lot of dogs are also resistant to going outside for longer periods of time. So how can you make sure your dog gets enough exercise in the winter? There are a few ways. Outdoor Excursions Your dog will still need to go outside, of course. The best way to accommodate for winter weather is to take them on more walks with short distances rather than just a few longer walks each day. Unfortunately, not a lot of people’s schedules can accommodate for mid-day walks, so dogs are often relegated to two or three walks per day out of necessity. One way around that is by bringing your dog to a doggie daycare center or, even easier and more convenient, hiring a dog walker. Dog walkers can bring your dog out for a short walk during your workday, so that not only does your dog get a little bit of extra exercise, but when you come home they won’t be as jumpy—they’ll have had the opportunity to burn off a bit of energy, thanks to the dog walk. Dress Your Dogs If you want your dog to better acclimate to the ever-lower temperatures, it’s important to dress them. While some dog owners scoff at this idea, the truth is some breeds have shorter coats that do not keep the animals as warm, and even 5-minute walks outside can make the dog extremely, dangerously cold. This is especially true with smaller breeds. Coats and sweaters are popular, and it’s also important to protect a dog’s paws. Not all dogs are receptive to wearing boots (funny as they may look!), so it’s up to owners to wash off their dog’s paws when coming back inside, as the salt can be harmful to their paw pads.

Cruisin' Canines logo of a white dog with an orange background