Winter sucks. Especially in the city. After December 25, when the decorations come down and half-dead Christmas trees line the streets, I’m over the cold. And unless you’ve got an Alaskan Malamute, your dog probably feels the same way.
Everything gets harder in the winter, too. Blizzards postpone the regular grocery shopping, the dog is going stir-crazy…and you are, too! Here are some tips for getting through the rest of the winter with your dog.
Delivery is for more than ordering Chinese food at 9pm. Several Philadelphia pet stores will deliver to your home so you don’t have to lug a 20lb. bag of dog food back to your apartment. In Philly, Old City’s BONeJOUR delivers with a zip-code based fee, and Walk It Like a Dog, a dog-walking and pet-sitting business with a storefront for food, also makes deliveries. And while we all know about Amazon, for many products, you can create a monthly recurring order so that your dog’s food is delivered just when you need it.
Speaking of monthly deliveries, subscription services are a great way to mix things up when the monotony of winter starts to set in. The ever-popular BarkBox brings you and your dog a monthly package of surprise goodies, from toys and treats to chews and more toys. Other subscription services include the Pooch Paw Box, Pet Gift Box, and the PawPack. A new type of treat or toy every month helps surprise and entertain a dog who’s probably as tired of winter as you are.
When snow and wind limit the length of your walks, exercise should be supplemented by play. And while tug-of-war and fetch are fun, they require a partner—you. Thankfully, some toys can be played with by themselves. The KONG is the most recognizable busy toy; stuff it with edible goodness and your dog is sated for however long it takes to chew it out. But if your dog is anything like mine, he’s not interested in gnawing on plastic, even for the sake of food. Instead, we have a Buster Treat Ball and a number of busy toys by PetSafe. Others include the Roxxter, which dispenses treats as the dog rocks it, and the Toppl, which can be both chewed and—you guessed it—toppled.
These are all food-based toys: the goal is to get the food out from the inside of the toy. For foodless play, there are other options. Puzzlements by KONG and interactive plush toys by Outward Hound entice dogs’ foraging behavior for a different type of play. Busy toys are a great way to exercise both a dog’s body and mind, and are particularly useful in the winter months when outside play is short.