Keeping Dogs Active

Anyone who is the parent of a pooch knows that keeping their four-legged friend active is important for their health. Just like humans, dogs need their exercise all year long, but that task can become difficult come winter. Besides causing behavioral issues from a lack of both mental and physical stimulation, a lazy pooch is more susceptible to injury, illness and, of course, weight gain. If snow-covered sidewalks and near freezing temperatures are a deterrent to taking your dog out for some exercise, there are a number of ways to keep them active from the comfort of indoors.

Play hide-and-seek

Have your dog stay in one room for a minute while you hide somewhere in the house. Call his name and have him come find you. A couple of rounds of this are fun for both parties involved, and your dog will get some exercise in as well as he runs around the house. Similarly, hide some treats around the house and have him sniff them out.


A good ol’ game of fetch is the perfect way to let your dog expend some of his pent-up energy. Toss his favorite toy down a hallway or across the room a couple of times. Even better, toss the toy up a set of stairs to give your dog some good exercise. Try having a little bit of tug-of-war before throwing the toy each time to up the ante.

Laser pointer

Most people associate laser pointers with cats, but there are plenty of dogs out there who love a good chase after a laser dot. Find out if your pooch is one of them.

Dog-friendly bubbles

Maybe it’s not quite ideal for indoors with the possible cleanup required, but bubbles are always a good time. Pet-supply stores will surely have edible bubbles in stock, most are flavored, for your dog to chase around and chomp on.

Indoor pet centers

Doggy daycare facilities around the Island are designed to keep your pet active during their time in the facility. Let your pooch have a fun day romping around and making friends while you’re at work. Best in Show Pet Resort in Mineola, SuperPaws in Garden City Park, K9Clubhouse in West Babylon and Camp Bow Wow in Hicksville are just a handful of places that offer such service.

Stimulating meal time

Make your dog’s meals a time to play. There are plenty of feeding toys, like a ball with a hollow center for food, that will keep your dog on his toes while he tries to munch his meal. Working for his food will also keep your furry friend mentally stimulated and will provide him with a sense of reward each time he manages to get some kibble out of the toy.

Dog-friendly outings

Start frequenting your local pet supply store or other pet-friendly locations; your dog will thank you for the exercise and the time to socialize. In this same vein, invite a fellow dog-owner to your home and have a pet playdate.

Indoor agility

Set up an agility course in your house. Use pillows, plastic containers and other dog-safe household items to construct some sort of obstacle course, throw a blanket across some chairs to create a tunnel and hold up a hula hoop to get your pooch to jump. Don’t forget to have a treat at the end.


They make treadmills specifically designed for dogs, but your own treadmill will work just fine for this. If your dog is up for it, have him walk on the treadmill at a slow setting. Hold a treat in front of him to keep his paws moving.

Go outside anyway

When in doubt, let your furry-friend do what he does best and send him to frolic in the snow. Just be careful he’s not stepping on any non-dog-safe salt and be sure to wipe any cold water off when he comes inside.

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Allison Eichler
Allison Eichler is the former editor of Hicksville News and Farmingdale Observer and creates beauty content for Long Island Weekly.

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