Photo of Golden Retriever dog playing in the creek.

Winter Wonderful

by Kris Phillips

DSC_0314The days are short and the air is cold. Winter is definitely upon us. While it is super tempting to stay inside and bask in front of a roaring fire exercise is as important as ever. Not just to work off those holiday goodies but to maintain peace into the new year. A bored pet is a destructive pet.DSC_0321 Whether gnawing into other people presents or using your bed as a trampoline while sugar plums dance in your head, pent up pet energy can be put a serious damper on your holiday joy.

Luckily there are lots of exercise options. If you have a small dog, or water-loving cat, consider turning your bath tub into a heated indoor lap pool. DSC_0121-001Check out this adorable Sphynx enjoying bath time. Just make sure you don’t leave them unsupervised (even for a minute). Small pets can tire quickly and even turtles can drown.

Too big for the bath or don’t like water? Consider picking up a stuffie at your local pet store for a rousing game of indoor fetch. Whether its across the living room or down the hallway keep ’em going until they’re tired and panting. Cats keeping you up all night? Pick up a Feline Flyer or laser pointer and get ’em moving. Exercise right before bed, once your kitten is totally worn out, dinner and sleep should follow.

Is your dog a social butterfly? DSC_0048Spending time at the dog park can be pretty unpredictable. You never know how social the other dogs are or if they have all their shots. But social interaction can be super beneficial for your dog mentally and physically.¬†Just a few weeks ago I got to check out Camp Bow Wow while I was photographing their canine campers with Santa. The staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and patient with nervous pups. There are locations all over Denver (and beyond) and dogs get to enjoy supervised play at daycare or overnight. With so much fun stuff happening for your pups at camp, it’s almost a guarantee they’ll be all tuckered out by the time you pick them up. And if you miss your furry friend while your apart they even offer webcams so you can check in.

DSC_0283All great ways to keep your pets trim when it’s too cold to venture out, but not going to do much to burn off your own holiday treats. Lucky for us we live in a place with awesome winter sports options. Jogging and hiking are always two of my favorites. Like a lot of houses we have one young dog, and one older dog. At just 4 years old Swota is always bursting with energy. While Yukon, who just turned 10, tires much more easily. To offset the energy imbalance we fitted Swota with a back pack. Adding a water bottle to each side means she spends more energy in the same distance. Plus, its great to have her carry her own water on long hikes! Of course when there is snow on the ground make sure your pets are properly equipped. Even the dogs of the Iditarod wear snow boots. Want to really get a workout? Skijoring can be great for all large, athletic breeds, not just snow dogs. My goal this winter is to learn how.

Whatever exercise option you choose, tiring out your pets is super important for their mental and physical health. So get creative and get moving!


Ps. No dragons were roasted in the making of this blog.



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