If you think winter is a time to doze more and exercise less, don't tell that to your pooch. Energetic and athletic, Standard Poodles need as much stimulation and exercise in the colder months as they do in the summer. Lack of movement can make them lethargic, moody, and lead to unhealthy weight gain.
Safety precautions for frigid days
With his heavy coat, your poodle is more likely to stay comfortable outdoors longer than you. So perhaps the best way to guarantee that you and your dog keep to a daily outdoor exercise routine is to make sure you have a warm, weatherproof coat, hat, gloves, and leggings. Of course, in the bitter cold or in heavy snow, be sure to have a doggie sweater on hand for him.
Also keep in mind that older dogs are troubled more by arthritis in the winter, and with less efficient circulation, they have a greater risk of freezing. If you notice your poodle shivering, bring him inside.
Watch out for salt on sidewalks and roads. Salt can irritate your Poodle's footpads. Some chemical ice melters can even make your Standard Poodle sick if he licks his paws, so you might consider winter booties. Finally, make sure your Poodle's coat is brushed and kept healthy, as a matted coat is a less effective insulator.
6 cold weather ways to keep your Poodle's paws in motion
- Shorter But Faster: Excellent benefit can be gained from winter walks if you keep them short, but move a little faster. A 15-minute walk won't overexpose you or your dog and the faster pace will help him stay warm.
- Basement Fetch: Many games such as fetch that you normally play outdoors, can be altered slightly and brought indoors. A basement, garage, or long hallway work nicely for compact games of fetch.
- Organized Fun: With the proliferation of doggie day care centers comes a host of new winter exercise offerings. Contact your local center about agility or flyball classes where your poodle can mingle while burning off some extra calories, too.
- Stair Muttster: Depending on your dog's age and physical capabilities, allowing him to run up and down the stairs can help to keep him, and you, in summer shape.
- Dot Darting: Have you seen those new laser pointers that dogs love? Aim the colored beam at the walls or floor and you can keep your poodle occupied for hours chasing the darting dot—while you rest on the couch!
- Poodle Puzzles: Poodles are intelligent and love to challenge themselves with physical and mental effort. Purchase a rubber chew toy, like Kongs, that have a hollow center that you can fill with hidden treats. Or put some kibbles inside a capless water bottle and let your dog roll, bounce, and shake it until the treat is revealed. However, be sure he doesn't chew the bottle.