Couch Potato Syndrome

Here in Colorado winter brings with it the opportunity for us humans to engage in some of our favorite activities. We ski, snowboard, ice climb, snowmobile…you pick your favorite because there are so many great winter activities. However, a lot of the activities we enjoy doing our dogs can’t do with us. Sure they can still snow shoe or go hiking with us, but for the most part our dogs are not as active in the winter. The cold snowy days and nights turn our fur balls into couch potatoes. They have their favorite bed or spot in front of the fire place that they seem intent on watching over for the long cold months.

muppet dog in front of fireplace
Right around April and May when the sun starts melting away our precious snow, we start wanting to trade our ski boots in for hiking boots. Our dogs also want to trade the lazy days in front of the fireplace for long sunny days on the mountain exploring. The important thing to keep in mind here is we have been playing hard all winter and our dogs have been hard at work keeping the dog bed from floating away. They are not ready to tackle the adventures of the great outdoors the same way we are. Don’t let the excitement of hiking with your favorite pooch lead to unnecessary soreness or injury. Ease your dog back into high intensity activities like you would yourself after being out of the game for a few months.

So what it a good plan for preventing injury and optimizing your dog’s health? Keeping them well conditioned over the winter is the best way to prevent potential injury. Find a local canine rehab and recreation center that has a pool. Swimming is great for keeping your dog mentally and physically healthy. Canine recreation centers often offer other activities like agility training, conditioning class and massage therapy. Try to enjoy the outdoors with your dog in the winter as much as possible, but be conscientious of them. Make sure they have proper gear such booties or paw wax, a jacket and light or reflectors for short days. Also, keep in mind our dogs have to work much harder to jump through snow then we do. This can put extra stress on the back and joints, especially shoulders. Shorten the distance of the hikes until you know your dog can comfortably handle the trek. Regular chiropractic care and massage therapy will also help to prevent injury and keep your dog healthy.

smiling dog swimming

This winter enjoy the snowy adventures with your furry friends, but provide them other indoor activities when possible. If your pooch is happier taking it easy over the winter, be careful to ease him/her back in to activities once the snow melts.

Keep an eye out for Canine Kinetics Rehabilitation and Recreation Center opening in Edwards, CO summer 2015. A community center for the dogs and their humans…