How to Keep your Dog Active and Healthy This Winter

One of the greatest joys of being a dog owner is spending time outdoors playing with your furry friend. Yet as the temperature starts to drop and the ground is covered with snow and ice, this becomes less enjoyable. Regular exercise is a vital component of your dog’s health, so it’s important to find ways to get out there for fresh air even on the coldest days. The following are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure your dog stays active, healthy, and safe in cold and snowy weather.


Take your dog along when playing winter sports.
Some dogs are perfectly happy venturing out into the snow. You can bring your dog along when taking part in winter sports to ensure that your pet gets plenty of fresh air and exercise. Many cross-country ski or snowshoeing trails are dog-friendly, for example. If you do take your dog along for a day outdoors, be sure to take frequent breaks and provide plenty of water. Dogs need to stay hydrated in colder months too.

Look for an indoor play space.
If the temperature has plummeted and you prefer to stay out of the cold, you might want to look for an indoor play space to keep your dog happy and engaged until it starts to warm up. Many towns have indoor dog parks, but if not you could also check out the facilities at local doggie daycares. Another option is to sign up for an agility class that runs throughout the colder months, which will help keep you in shape alongside your dog.
Create your own obstacle courses or other games.
If you have room in your own home, you can forego the agility course and create your own obstacle course for your favourite pet. Play games like hide and seek with treats, or build a fort out of chairs and blankets for your dog to navigate through. If you have small children, they will love taking part in the challenge as well.
Bundle up.
When you do take your pet outside for a walk, you’ll want to make sure that he is as comfortable as possible. Dog clothes are particularly useful for shorthaired breeds, which have little protection from the elements. Dog boots can help protect their feet on cold and icy surfaces, as packed snow or ice can cause frostbite or cut their pads. There are a number of stylish dog sweaters and jackets to choose from. You can check out these dog coats with Dogs Corner to get an idea of what the different options are.
Avoid salted surfaces.
In addition to cold surfaces, salt can also do a number on your poor dog’s feet in the winter months. Many homeowners put salt on their walkways to help melt the snow, but this can get into the dog’s paws and cause burning or irritation. Beware of antifreeze on walks as well, which a dog might lick off of his paws. This can lead to severe illness, so you’ll want to be aware of where you’re walking and be a bit more cautious in the winter.
With the right cold-weather gear and a plan B for bad weather, you can keep your dog active no matter what the season. Making the time for exercise will keep your dog happy, healthy, and in top shape when spring rolls around.
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The Psychology of Dogs

Human, inhuman, but mostly just lovable in every possible way, the differences and similarities between dogs and people are surprising across the board.


Because of the long history of the domestication of dogs

  • Timeline [1] [2]
  • 30,000 B.C.–Paleolithic humans likely hunted in tandem with wild dogs.
  • 12,000 B.C.-Dog and human remains were buried together
  • (suggesting dogs were valued as people were)
  • 10,500 B.C.-Different breeds of domesticated dogs are distinguishable
  • 1,500 C.E.-Oldest modern breeds are formed from: [3]
  • European Wolf
  • Terriers
  • Mastiffs
  • Herding Dogs
  • Indian Wolf
  • Sight hounds
  • Chinese Wolf
  • Feral Dogs
  • Chow Chows
  • Asian Spaniels
  • North American Wolf
  • Spitz
  • Native American Dogs

And their human like capacity to feel love and affection…

  • (emotions dogs feel) [4]
  • Affection/Love
  • Suspicion/shyness
  • Joy
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Disgust
  • Contentment
  • Distress
  • Excitement/arousal

Dogs share the hormone Oxytocin with humans; it allows them to feel love and affection

We often “humanize” the actions of dogs

But what are they really thinking?

Dogs have the emotional development of a 2.5 year old child.

  • Leaving
  • Shame
  • Pride
  • Guilt
  • Contempt
  • Undeveloped (these emotions develop in human babies between the age of 3-4) [4]
  • (But, hey, some dogs are smarter than others, so there’s always hope.)
  • Dogs can’t plan for the future. They also can’t recall isolated moments in the past.
  • That’s because they don’t have episodic memory.[5]
  • This doesn’t mean they can’t learn (obviously).
  • Dogs can build complex sets of knowledge, but unlike humans, they don’t remember the learning part.
  • Like most mammals, dogs exhibit the “copying effect,” where they imitate what their elders do in order to learn to survive.
  • An episode in history: Most things are a bit speculative from 30,000 years ago, but one learning moments for dogs occurred when “more social and less fearful” wild dogs realized that having their pups near human camps meant free food. The pups were socialized with people from a young age, and with every generation dogs became more and more domesticated. [99]

Without specific memories or forethought, dogs rely heavily on instincts and reflexes

  • In the several millions of years of socialization before domestication, dogs formed their current hierarchy.
  • Either the person leads, or the dog does.
  • In the wild, oftentimes on the dominant pair of a pack reproduces. Making moving up the social hierarchy important, and making modern wild dogs hard to domesticate. [99]
  • Freedom Lovers: This is related to the opposition reflex. When you pull on a puppy, oftentimes it tries to push away, this is because dogs reflexively want to be in control of themselves.[6]
  • Due to the proximity of the dog’s mouth and eyes, and the incentive of a potential meal, rapid movement in front of a dog’s eyes triggers the mouth to snap.[6]
  • Dogs can snap up quickly moving flies that fly past their eyes.
  • Dog’s aren’t quite as good at problem solving as humans, and often exhibit barrier-frustration syndrome when their path is obstructed. [6]
  • Often results in relieving stress through barking, jumping, or soiling.

But in many ways dogs are similar to humans

  • As many dog owners know, dogs have dreams. [7]
  • Dogs enter dreams about 20 minutes after falling asleep.
  • Movement, soft barks, and whimpers are common as the dog acts out their dream.
  • Dog’s eyes move under their eyelids as they look around their dream world.
  • Dogs experience runner’s highs to a greater extent than humans. [8]
  • Endocannabinoids reward animals that evolutionarily have needed to run long distances in order to survive.
  • Humans and dogs share this evolutionary niche.
  • So do horses and antelopes.
  • An animal like a ferret does not, as it relies on short bursts and agility to catch its prey.
  • Like humans, dogs can hold an irrational fear or phobia of sundry things. [10]

Top phobias [9]

  • Thunder
  • Fireworks
  • Being left alone
  • Vets
  • Riding in the car
  • Going up and down the stairs
  • Men
  • Strangers
  • Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) is much like OCD is humans. [10]
  • Due to boredom, stress, misfiring neurotransmitters, or being rewarded at the wrong time.
  • Can include excessive licking, tail-chasing, chasing of shadows or reflections, snapping at flies, or flank sucking.
  • Just as humans miss people, dogs have separation anxiety. [10]
  • With one human year equaling seven dog years, it makes sense why they miss you when you’re gone for an afternoon!
  • Dogs have religious experiences. [11][12][13][14]
  • Dogs also have a limbic system, one of the most primitive areas of the brain and the portion responsible for spiritual experiences.
  • Dogs as well as Chimpanzees have been reported putting themselves into trance like states gazing at sunsets, frolicking under waterfalls, and the like.
  • Dogs have near death experiences. [11] [13][14]
  • This phenomenon is caused by the eyes susceptibility to the low blood flow that occurs after fainting or cardiac arrest.
  • As dogs have eyes very similar to humans they too share in this phenomena.
  • Dogs have out of body experiences.
  • Which are also related to the limbic system, balance center of the ear, and eyes, all of which function similarly in dogs.
  • So with the myriad ways, in which we think dogs are little four-legged children, always remember…
  • “If you are a dog and your owner suggests you wear a sweater…suggest that he wear a tail.” –Fran Lebowitz



With busy lives pet owners could be putting their animals at risk of serious health problems?

Watch our video where rugby star and dog lover James Haskell and vet Luke Gamble encourage pet owners to get smarter about treating and protecting their pets against parasites

England & Wasps rugby player James Haskell and TV vet Luke Gamble have joined forces to support the ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ campaign to educate pet owners on the importance of making sure their pets are being given regular parasite protection treatments against sometimes fatal parasites.

small james

New research shows that only half of pet owners regularly get their pets treated with parasite prevention treatments, while one in five don’t bother at all, with around 40% admitting they forget to administer parasite prevention treatment.

Although most owners know that they need to regularly use parasite protection for their pet in order to keep them happy and healthy, it is often difficult to remember when and how frequently to do so.

And while some parasites such as fleas and ticks may not be fatal, other more deadly types such as the lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum can be fatal to dogs, which has experts urging pet owners to take the matter of parasite protection seriously and administer preventative treatments regularly.

To help pet owners the ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ programme has launched a FREE app for pet owners, offering a bespoke parasite treatment reminder service.

Watch the following video for more information.

Once downloaded, users can create a pet profile to keep track of all their pets information in one place, including breed details, microchip number, weight, and date of birth of their dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets. A ‘learn’ section of the app is also available to provide owners with the latest information on parasites and the risk they pose to pets and family members.

The Jungle for Pets app launches on the 9th September and is initially available to download for iPhones and iPads, by searching ‘Jungle for Pets’ in the Apple App store.

Bayer Animal Health launched the ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ initiative to help pet owners navigate the complex jungle of parasites and help them in complying with the recommended parasite control advice provided by their vet.  Owners can find information about the most common parasites in the UK at, or follow the programme at or on Twitter @jungleforpets