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Cruisin' Canines

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.

Fun Winter Activities for Your Dog in Chicago

Fun Winter Activities

Snowy months are upon us, Chicago, and that means spending less time outside and more time inside, away from slushy streets, icy sidewalks, and unfortunately for our pets, the dog park. But even though going to the park isn’t as fun when its frigid outside, there are still some fun winter activities that you can do with your dog to keep him or her entertained and happy. It’s important to still make sure your dog gets enough exercise even if they aren’t going outside as much or for as long of walks, so be sure not to spend the cold months cuddled up under blankets—at least not all the time. Skijoring Skijoring is best for big dogs. It’s a growing sport in which a dog equipped with a harness pulls a cross-country skier along trails. It’s a great way to tire out your large dog while still having fun (and getting a bit of exercise) yourself. Agility Classes Though not outdoors, agility classes are a great option for something to do during winter with your dog. You’ll work with your pet as a team, and together you can teach your pooch to channel his or her energy into running through a timed course. This is great for keeping your dog mentally stimulated even though it’s cold outside. Play in the Snow Grab a brightly colored tennis ball or some snowballs and the kids, and head out to the yard. Plenty of dogs love playing in the snow, since they don’t get to see it that often. Make sure your dog’s paws are protected and that he or she is warm enough, though—even if that means you have to make your dog wear a sweater or coat. Volunteer Many nursing homes or hospitals love having pet visitors to brighten the mood. If your dog is very friendly and gets along with other people well, consider calling around to local facilities and finding out if they allow such a thing. Just imagine the joy that your pooch brings to you—wouldn’t you love giving that experience to someone else? Sledding Of course, sledding is always fun for the whole family—and this time, that can include the dog. Protect your pup’s feet with paw covers of some kind—boots or rubber mittens are great—and make sure your dog is protected from the cold, as well. You may think having a dog wear a coat is silly, but they’ll be a lot warmer if the coat is shielding their (fur) coat from getting soaked with snow. As always, make sure to wipe off your dog’s paws with warm water when you come in from the cold—salt on sidewalks can dry out their paw pads and make the skin crack.

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