We’re now into February of 2021 and, after almost a full year, COVID-19 continues to dominate our daily lives. For many of us, we’ve become anxious and agitated. Being in the dark cold days of winter, we all get the blahs, including our furry friends. If you’re feeling down and getting a little depressed with all the COVID-19 restrictions as well as the long cold days, chances are that your pup will have picked up on your feelings and may feel the same way.
Before we get to the point of just staying in bed or spending too much time on the couch, it’s time to start getting up and out and thinking of starting to get in shape for Spring. A brisk walk on a cold day can do a lot to improve both you and your pup’s spirit and break up the day. Your pup will enjoy the one-on-one time with you and the fresh air will help you both feel a little better. You may even run into some other people and pets while out. While wearing a mask and staying social-distanced, you could have a short chat and your pup could get a little socialization as well.
If it’s exceptionally cold out, keep to shorter walks and be sure your pup wears a coat or sweater.Their paws should be protected either by a pair of booties or a cream, such as Bag Balm.Salt is one of the worst things for paws as it stings and burns them, so if your pet won’t wear boots, try a balm instead.Remember that dogs’ ears, as well as their paws, can be frostbitten, so be careful not to overdo it.Clean your pup’s paws in some warm soapy water when you get home to remove any salt or other debris which they may have picked up while out.Check your pup’s paws regularly to make sure there isn’t a buildup of fur on the pads or between the toes.
As winter drags on, your pet still needs to get daily exercise to stay healthy and combat depression. If your pup becomes depressed, they could also become anxious. As we all know, this can lead to excessive barking, chewing, and other destructive behaviour. This needs to be curbed before it becomes a serious health issue.
If the weather is extremely bad, you can still spend time at home playing hide-and-seek, fetch, or other games to keep your furry friend animated and happy. This is a good time to practice basic obedience commands and routines to stimulate their mind and reinforce everything your pup has learned. If they’re very energetic, a good run in the yard or play in the snow will burn off some steam and your pup will be less inclined to be destructive at home.
If you’ve been working from home this past year, it’s possible that you’ve been eating a few extra snacks during the day and sharing them with your best friend. While this seems innocent enough, those extra snacks or treats do add up. Before your pup gains too much weight, cut the extra treats and perhaps share a few carrots sticks with them instead. Be sure you keep as regular a routine as possible; go for daily walks, even a few short walks around the block or down the street will get both of you motivated to burn off that excess energy.
So try to stay occupied during this dark time of year and keep your best friend as happy and as active as possible.