5 Ways to Beat Canine Cabin Fever
Winter in Omaha often times is too cold for us to go out for our daily doggie walks. Short, bitterly cold days in Nebraska make our daily walks with our canine companions not very enjoyable. And when a dog is used to being walked daily the other three seasons, winter can bring out some not so desirable behaviors. This is especially true for dogs that are high-energy and that require a lot of exercise.
Not only do we humans suffer from being trapped inside all winter long (aka Cabin Fever), our canine companions are as affected being trapped in, causing problems like unusual barking, chewing up furniture or objects, and even things like unrolling a roll of toilet paper throughout the whole house.
A Few Winter Precautions to Be Aware Of
Being outside on days when the temperature barely reaches 20 degrees is not desirable for us or our canine friends. Just like humans, dogs are subjected to frostbite in these bitter months. Dog coats can help to keep dogs warm, but they are not impenetrable.
The other winter hazard that dog owners should be aware of is snow-melt salt. This salt is known to irritate their four-legged friends paws. When you come back from a walk you can use a warm wet paper towel or cloth to wipe off any salt from their paws to avoid irritation.
Five Ways to Help Alleviate Doggy Cabin Fever
1. Go for a walk!
If you are among the handful of people that own a winter loving breed, consider yourself lucky! For all the rest of you dog owners (I am referring to those of you who have dogs that think they are humans and who insist they cannot go outside), there are still a few options to help motivate your spoiled dog to brave the cold and go on a walk with you.
If you’ve been to any of the big retail pet stores in the last few years, I’m sure you’ve witnessed the plethora of dog clothing that is made today to keep our dogs warm. In the past few years, the pet clothing industry has exploded with everyone from Ed Hardy to Juicy Couture coming out with doggie fashions. Dog coats can be especially valuable for dogs that have short-hair.
If you are looking for the fashionable outfits for your pooch, I would recommend heading out to Luxe Pet Boutique in Elkhorn. You can also find great outfits at Three Dog Bakery and even Long Dog Fat Cat.
In addition to a new dog sweater, a pair of doggie boots may also help your dog to endure walking outside. You can find these great boots at Three Dog Bakery here in Omaha at Village Point. Krystal, owner of Three Dog Bakery, has the perfect solution:
They are called Pawz and they are a reusable rubber boot. I have been using them on my dogs for over a year now, after trying other kinds and not being happy with the price, ease of use, and how much the dogs tolerate them. These boots seem to be the ones that most dogs don’t mind. Plus you get twelve in a pack for around $13.00.
Yes, that’s right, put your dog on the treadmill! A couple of treats and some persuasion will help to get your dog familiar with the treadmill. It may not happen right away, but after a few training sessions, Fido will be banking off the benefits of daily walking. Plus, they won’t have to go out into this harsh winter weather.
According to Nicole Busey, owner of Pawz Pet Services:
Treadmills can be a great tool for energy outlet as long as proper training and use are involved. By proper training, I think that precautionary measures should be taken, i.e. constant supervision, not pushing the dog on the treadmill if he/she is scared or worried, and be sure to keep the initial sessions short.
3. Send them to day care…
…Doggie day care that is! Dog day care centers have exploded in popularity across the US. Omaha has a lot of great dog day care facilities. Drop off Fiffi at day care before work, let them burn off all their doggie energy, and pick up a happy, tired dog. Perfect, right? Who wouldn’t be pleased to pick up a happy, tailwagging dog at the end of the day, instead of coming home to find the furniture chewed up and a dog ready to play for hours?
Not only do these places wear out Fido, they are also a great way to help build your dog’s dog-to-dog socialization skills. It’s a great alternative to lonely days at home for your dog. Dogs get to socialize (with humans and canines), run and play as much as they want, all in a safe, supervised environment. Even just taking your dog once a week or once a month can be very beneficially for your dog.
A couple of our favorites are Dogtopia, Pawz Pet Service, Camp Bow Wow, Bone Jour Dog Daycare, and Bark Avenue. All are locally owned and operated. They are all great businesses who are truly dog lovers and only want the best for your dog.
4. Join a dog club
One great way to get out with your dog is to go to one of the many dog playgroup meetings that are held either weekly or monthly here in Omaha.
MeetUp.com is a great social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various places around the world. Omaha has a couple of very active meetup groups. Two of the popular breed specific groups are the Omaha Pug Club and the Dachsunds Anonymous. The Corgi Club of Omaha and the West Omaha Shih-Tzu meetup are two new groups to the Omaha area.
A few of the local pet businesses also offer weekly, bi-montly, or montly meetups for dogs. Dogtopia has two meetups each month , one for small dogs and one for big dogs. At Camp Bow Wow, they have two playgroups each month. These are usually on a Saturday and held from 11:30am-2pm. These are two great groups that you can go with your pup and allow them to socialize with others, while you talk to other dog owners.
Most of these dog playgroups require that your pup is spayed/neutered and that they are current on their shots (usually including kennel cough). Call before hand to find out all the details.
5. Go shopping!
There are a lot of great local pet stores that allow dogs into their stores. So, if you are already going to go shopping for Fido’s food, why not take him along? Last week, I had to run out to Long Dog Fat Cat to buy food for my pugs. I decided to take them along with me for the adventure, just get them out of the house. They had such a blast out at the store! Indre and Kazu (the owners of Long Dog Fat Cat) are truly dog lovers! They gave my pugs so many yummy samples that they barely wanted to eat their dinners that night.
Other trips we take on occasion are to Nature Dog, Three Dog Bakery, and on occasion we stop by a PetSmart or Petco. They love the attention they get at all these stores, and they especially love all the treats they receive. Just be sure to take along some poop bags with you.
As you can see, Omaha offers a lot of great ways to get out there in the winter with your dogs and help relieve some of that built-up energy. This is just the beginning of the many things to do, so if you have any other ideas, please be sure to mention them in the comments section!