Snowed in? Torrential rains in play? Sub-zero temperatures at work? There comes a time every winter where the weather simply forbids heading outside.

That begs the question: what do we do with our canine friends who need plenty of exercise – and stimulation – to keep their spirits high?

In the article to follow, we’re going to unpack a few things you can do inside. Because while dogs are generally less active in winter due to the darker days and earlier nights, they still need to get their steps in.

Idea 1: Indoor games

Indoor games are always a great option, and even something like fetch works inside the home, provided you don’t mind your dog scampering about the confines of your property. Then there’s tug of war, which you can do with a toy rope, and a variety of great brain games, many of which you can grab off Amazon for a great price.

Idea 2. Indoor swimming

Kind to the joints, and a great cardiovascular workout to boot, swimming is great for humans and our pets alike. Consider taking your furry friend to a hydrotherapy pool specially set up for dogs. These indoor facilities are very useful if your animal has an injury that needs rehabbing, but the pool can also be used as a good form of exercise when it’s cold outdoors.

Idea 3. Doggy play dates

Struggling to keep your pooch entertained? Why not invite the friends over and get them to bring their dogs while they’re at it? Animals love social interactions, and dogs are one species that particularly benefit from face-to-face time with their own kind.

Idea 4. Doggy treadmills

Yup, believe it or not, doggy treadmills are a thing, and if you live in an area that gets snowed in for weeks at a time, it’s not a bad idea either. They don’t come cheap, however, and they’ll require some training to get your dog up to speed, so consider it a last (albeit effective) resort.

As a final point, it’s worth noting that many dogs can indeed deal with the cold, but that running on wet, slick roads is potentially dangerous, and that running on snow is less than an ideal. In these instances, you should stick to indoor activities. It also needs to be said that some breeds, like the Great Dane, Bulldog, Boxer and Chihuahua would rather stay warm, thank you very much. So if you live in an area where it gets seriously cold, you might want to check whether your breed is well adapted to it. No one breed is the same.

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