We’ve noticed Juno getting a little round in the midsection lately. Chalk it up to freezing temperatures and consequently way less exercise than she’s used to getting, and you get a rolly dog. Not to mention that she’s a Lab, so has zero filter when it comes to what goes in her mouth and has never had a tendency to be a picky eater. Good thing spring is around the corner, because mission fitness has begun in earnest.
A couple of things we’ve done while the temperatures have dipped over the winter are:
Bones – Juno can chew happily on a bone or deer antler for hours. The mental exertion keeps her from going batty when we’re stuck inside because of the weather.
Indoor games – “Find it” – Hiding either one of us, toys, or bits of kibble – no need for extra treats – we just use half of her breakfast or dinner or “Fetch” – A good ol’ ball or disc toss in the house – all of her toys are soft, rubbery, and quiet, so we don’t worry about breaking anything – and we’ve mastered our aim over the years!
This is a handy reference chart we use for visually keeping Juno’s weight in check. It’s easy to stop noticing these changes when you see your dog day in, day out.
When we do go out during the winter, we go out for shorter, more manageable walks – several times a day. Nobody wants to get stuck blocks away from home with a dog who’s lifting up their paws because their foot pads are literally freezing to the ground!
Going for walks in the daytime is also helpful – the sun is shining, so it feels warmer – and mentally it’s more enjoyable too. There are more dogs, more people – and, in general, more bustle to keep a dog’s brain going enough to tire her out. And the wind just seems to pick up more when it gets dark – or maybe it feels that way.
So those are some tips we use when the mercury takes a nosedive. What have you done to keep the pounds off your dog during the winter?