We had a cold-snap recently and a handful of chillier than normal days. As a result, Ginger dog has been spending more time than usual inside. Winter can be a difficult time to be a dog. Cooler temperatures and winter weather often mean that dogs and dog owners spend less time outside going on walks, playing ball, chasing squirrels, going to the park, or participating in dog sports.
Ginger very much enjoys spending time outside watching the birds and the squirrels. She is convinced that she might, eventually, someday catch one of the backyard squirrels. My mom also usually takes her on 1-2 walks a day. So, she is definitely not a fan of cold weather and having to stay inside. Like any active dog, she gets bored staying inside all day if the weather is unpleasant.
Bored dogs are much more likely to find ways to entertain themselves, often by engaging in inappropriate behaviors, such as chewing and destroying things, barking out the window, or pestering you for attention. It’s much smarter to be pro-active and provide your dog with safe, appropriate activities to engage in, so that he does not have the time nor the desire to get into trouble. Although Ginger is a very well behaved girl, she still doesn’t enjoy being cooped up in the house all day!
Chew toys are a great way to keep your dog busy. I recently purchased several medium sized bully sticks for Ginger. We gave her one the other evening and she had a grand time chewing on it! (If you’re not familiar with bully sticks, they are dog chews made from beef muscle that has been dried.)
I wasn’t sure if Ginger had ever had a bully stick before. So, we just gave her one to enjoy and then watched her closely over the next 24 hours for any signs of indigestion or an upset stomach. Whene giving your dog any new kind of chew toy it’s always a good idea to supervise them closely while they have the chew, as well as afterwards. Even a toy or chew that seems perfectly safe could upset your dog’s stomach or your dog could manage to break off pieces and choke.
It took Ginger about an hour to chew up the bully stick. She was completely tuckered out afterward! She curled up on the floor for a nice long nap. We have a few more bully sticks that we will save for other days this winter when we have cold temperatures or nasty weather. How do you keep your dogs or other pets entertained during cold weather or other times when they can’t engage in their normal favorite activities?