How To Keep Your Pet Active During Winter?

When the winter season arrives, we can find ourselves locked inside for days to ensure that we remain warm and dry. Exercising for both you and your pets can become unpleasant, especially in stormy areas.

Exercising ensures that your pet remains healthy while reducing any behavioural problems such as excessive licking, chewing, digging, or barking. Leaving out regular exercise for your pet can result in obesity, mental health problems and joint inflammation.

Tips for keeping your pets active

The first tip for ensuring that your pet remains active is to introduce the concept of indoor fetch. Playing fetch with your dog can be a viable option for motivating your dog to participate in fun, cardiovascular activity. If you have a decent amount of room in a section of your house, fetch is the perfect game during this winter season. Be careful to avoid slippery floor surfaces and areas where they may cause accidents with furniture or people!

Learning new tricks can provide an excellent activity for your pet. Tricks such as rolling over, catching soft toys/balls in their mouths, or balancing treats/toys on their noses are all activities that ensure physical and mental exercise. Changing toys out daily for variety and environmental enrichment can also be a rewarding change of scene for your pet. You can also try using cat scratching posts which cats love to sharpen their claws and to stretch their legs.

During the warmer days of winter, on-leash and off-leash walking can also provide excellent cardiovascular exercise for you and your pet. On-leash allows you to structure the walk and keeps you in control of any situation, where off-leash walking can provide your pet with more exciting walks and let them expose to their surroundings.

There are many ways to stimulate your pet’s mind and body without venturing into the winter weather. Simply offering meals in a feeding toy rather than just a food bowl can be very advantageous as studies have shown that dogs enjoy their food more when they have to work for it.

It is crucial to recognise the negative impact of the winter season and its effects on the overall well-being of your pet. As a pet owner, you need to ensure that your pets remain active during winter to reduce any physical and mental impacts. You can also visit the clinic for more information and guidance on how to keep your pet’ active during winter from one of our veterinary team!


The benefits of obedience training

A necessity for all of our favourite animals, dogs especially benefit from obedience training, which teaches our furry friends to be social, safe and easily managed animal companions.

From going to the park without having to worry about your animal getting angry at other pets, to stress-free meal times and carefree cuddles without ruining your furniture, there are countless reasons why your animal needs obedience training, no matter what their age.

Although it’s best to start when young, dogs of any ages can learn a lot from obedience training, (a service which is available at most Veterinary practices) and it is a fun and beneficial way to not only train your animal but to have some quality time and bond with them as well. You’ll be surprised at how simple techniques, food or toy incentives can encourage your dog to behave in certain ways that make both your home life and social life much easier.

If you’re still not convinced, here are a few reasons why you should take your animal to obedience training:

Easy Management

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of taking your dog to obedience training is that you can easily manage your animal throughout everyday tasks. Your animal will learn everything from basic commandments like sit, drop and stay, to walking comfortably and safely on a leash and greeting other animals and people in a calm and controllable way.

Social and friendly animals

When your animals learn basic commandments they become less anxious and stressed, making them much more social and friendly. Taking your animals to parties, family events and social functions no longer needs to be feared, as obedience training will condition your animal to enjoy the company of others without getting too overwhelmed or excited and they will learn to listen to you when they do.

Safety

After attending training, your animals are much more likely to be safer around other animals, people and outside environmental factors. Simple things like returning to you when called, or sitting calmly next to you when a bigger or more anxious dog walks past is an undeniable benefit, making play time a whole lot less stressful for both you and your pet!

Bonding

With countless behavioral benefits, obedience training is also a great time for you to bond with your pet through a series of fun and relaxed exercises.  Research shows that animals that have had discipline training are more responsive to their owners, making you less stressed and more loving towards your pet without any unwanted frustration!

Community Involvement

Although it may be time consuming for some, the overall benefits of taking your animal to obedience training is huge and are not just for your favourite furry friend! Obedience training is a great chance to develop and grow your animal’s skills and behaviour as well as a chance for you to meet new likeminded pet owners. Get social one night a week, with a great group of Vet nurses and pet owners while spending quality time with your favourite animal companion – what more could you want?

Despite the age-old saying, even if your dog is no longer a puppy, it can still learn new tricks! While the younger they are, the more likely they are to learn the required training faster and easier, there are still plenty of ways to teach older dogs discipline with similar food and toy incentives and disciplinary techniques.

Get in touch with your local vet to discuss your pet’s obedience training needs and for more information on classes and available services.


Settling your dog into a new home

So you are about to move house and concerned about settling your dogs into their new environment? Here's some handy tips on making the transition stress free and as safe as possible for your pet.

Dogs can sometimes be more difficult to settle into new routines, particularly those that have the run of the house or are used to more space. Taking your dog for walks around your new area, will give him/her both the mental and physical stimulation they need as well as familiarise them with their new surrounds. Walk your dog at least once daily, especially in the mornings before they are left alone. This will help reduce any excess energy that they have.

Avoid making a fuss of your dog when you arrive home and leave home. Your dog may interpret the fuss incorrectly, and begin to worry unnecessarily. You do not want him/ her to wait all day for an exciting event (ie. your arrival). If you get home and nothing exciting happens, your dog will start to think it is not the best part of his day and will stop pining for that moment.

Owners are often tempted to replace the dog or cat's bed when they move into a new home. If you can resist the temptation, provide them with a bed, toys, food and water bowl they are familiar with.

Barking, digging and more

Most dogs only bark, dig or develop destructive behaviours when they are bored so keeping your dog busy is the main priority.

Make sure your new home is safe

Before you let your pet into a new environment, do a simple check for the following:-

  • Poisons - check your shed, garden and shelves for anything left at 'nose' level. Also check the garden beds for any rat or snail poison left in the yard by previous owners.
  • Fencing - do a backyard check to make sure you have no escape holes.
  • Remove chewable objects - to prevent obstruction injuries (injuries that could choke or damage your pet's gastrointestinal system) remove suspect items from your yard. Disgard any old bones, small balls and anything your pet maybe attracted to.
  • Identification - Ensure your pet is wearing a collar, and has an identification tag with your new phone number. If your pet is microchipped, contact the relevant microchip registry to change your contact details. Finally contact your local council to update your pet's registration details.

If your dog is having trouble, or you know he or she may have trouble settling in, a calming pheromone dispenser may help considerably, please call your local vet to discuss this.

And just remember, patience, patience, patience... and you will enjoy your new home together in no time.