Brrrr . . . Frosty winter weather often limits outdoor activity plans, but pets need daily exercise to maintain a healthy weight and for stimulation to relax and burn off energy!
Most dogs have their own fur coats and can handle winter weather for short periods of time, but small pets, like Lucy and Holly, are not able to be outdoors very long. When they are outdoors, they wear warm, weatherproof coats to protect their skin from the elements.
Be sure to always dress your dog in a warm coat, especially if you reside where there is snow. Many dogs enjoy romping in the fluffy, white stuff with the kids or for a game of fetch with bright colored balls. However, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers this warning to pet owners: More dogs get lost during the winter months than any other season. So, make certain your pet always wears current I.D. tags when playing outdoors; microchipping is another good idea. And when you return home from snow time, make sure you wipe off your dog’s paws, ears, face and coat so no ice becomes wedged in places that can cause frostbite.
Lucy and Holly share several ways you can exercise your pet indoors during cold, icy months so they don’t get bored until the warm signs of spring emerge.
Indoor Games & Brain Teasers: Interactive puzzle toys filled with tasty Vital Essentials® treats are a great way to keep your pet entertained. Lucy and Holly love these games, as the toys dispense treats while your pet plays with them. For cats, you can use recycle gift boxes for your favorite feline to explore, and a laser toy or catnip also work great. A good tug toy will challenge your pet and channel their energy!
Agility and Obedience Training: We keep a jump hoop and a small agility tunnel set up in our house for Lucy and Holly to crawl around and enjoy when it’s rainy or cold outside. If your dog is active and likes a challenge, consider taking indoor agility classes. Agility courses are fun for your dog and count as a training and a social activity that will benefit you and your pet; you can also enroll your pet in obedience classes for even more wintertime fun.
Pet Treadmill: Lucy works out regularly on an aquatic treadmill for rehab maintenance without stressing her joints and to keep her little senior body strong. There are also regular dry pet treadmills available, much like the treadmills people use. Treadmills are a great way to exercise your pup indoors when the weather outside is frightful.
Winter Play Date: Invite your friends and their pets to get together for a winter play date, pet shopping spree at a local pet boutique, or meet up for brunch or dinner at a pet friendly restaurant that has a heated outdoor patio. Some restaurants even offer pet friendly heated igloos during the winter months! Also, many doggy daycares, spas and grooming salons will allow you to host a play date, “BarkDay” celebration or other special occasion in one of their indoor play rooms.
Volunteering with your Pet: Our pets provide year-round unconditional love. For a fulfilling activity, consider volunteering with your pet. Winter can be a long, cold season to get through for many people who live in senior resident centers and nursing homes, and a visit from a pet can really brighten the spirits of many. Call your local nursing home or animal shelter first to find out what volunteer opportunities are available for you and your pet. Some pets might need to certified or pass a behavior assessment to ensure they are comfortable being handled by strangers and that they can follow basic commands before visiting a home. Lucy & Holly have visited nursing homes throughout the southeast!
Cuddle Time: The most important activity you can do with your pet is spending time together. Whether snuggled up in a favorite comfy chair by the fireside or curled up together on the sofa, pets will thrive with the extra attention.
Always remember safety first; when trying out a new activity, whether indoors or outdoors, be sure to do your research and prepare with the proper equipment and gear for both you and your dog.
We would love to see photos of your pets enjoying winter activities with you, your family and friends. Be sure to follow us and tag @vitalessentials and @lucyandholly_atlgirlzclub in all your photos.
Now get moving and enjoy the winter with your pets!
Atlanta GirlZ Club®
“We’re all about Fashion, Fun & Fundraising”
Kathi Welch owns Atlanta GirlZ Club® an influential pet Fashion, Fun & Fundraising brand featuring her fashionable doggie models, Lucy and Holly. As writers and contributors for several outlets and with their significant high profile and social media following, these GirlZ are well known pet influencers and public figures. They host and emcee events, are brand ambassadors and couture fashion models, as well as fashion print and runway models. Kathi and Lucy also have experience and backgrounds working in television. Lucy and Holly are professionally trained. They are trendy influencers in the pet community and have been featured on CNN, appeared on The Weather Channel and in YouTube videos and two books. Atlanta GirlZ Club® burst onto the Atlanta Pet Lifestyle Scene over a decade ago and use their celebrity to shine a light on animal welfare, animal rescues and fundraising efforts. Their brand motto is “We’re all about Fashion, Fun & Fundraising.” Their commitment and core mission is fundraising for animals in need.