Your dog can also get the winter blues if he's confined indoors due to freezing temperatures and miserable conditions outside.
Unlike some other mammals, dogs do not have the tendency to go into a dormant state during the winter months; in fact, they need to stay as physically active as possible and release some of their energy, which unfortunately does not diminish along with the significant drop in temperatures.
Unless extreme winter conditions prevent it, you should still spend some time outside with your pet. If it's not too cold, you should continue to take your dog out for short walks or even to play, every day if possible. However, you may need to take a few extra precautions, especially near frozen lakes, ponds, or rivers, to avoid accidents and injuries. If your dog has a short coat, a sweater may be necessary. If your dog has long hair, trim the excess hair around his foot pads and toes to minimize the amount of dirt and snow that stick to them. Keep your dog away from antifreeze that may have collected on roadways or driveways, as this is poisonous.
When you get home, dry your dog properly using a towel or a blow dryer should he get wet from walking in snow or rain. Take particular care to dry his paws to prevent them from cracking; you can apply some petroleum jelly to the delicate pads on the feet to keep them from getting dry and cracked. Your dog may need additional calories, especially if you take him outside regularly, as he will burn up more energy in winter in the process of keeping his body warm.
If confined indoors, you can still engage in some playful activities with your dog, and get him to do some simple exercises to burn off excess energy. But before starting any games, remove any items that could easily get knocked over and broken – that precious Ming vase must be put in a safe zone to avoid tears later.
The simplest activity you can engage in is a game of fetch – a more fun alternative is a game of laser pointer chasing. You will find yourself having fun too, as you watch your pet trying to catch that red dot on the floor – very entertaining indeed. Dogs also love chasing and popping bubbles, but make sure you only use pet-friendly bubbles available from pet stores. You and your kids can play hide and seek with your dog too; take turns calling him and give him a treat every time he finds you. You can also train your dog to find treats or his favorite toys that you’ve hidden all over the house.
Whenever possible, take your dog with you when you're out running errands or going on a road trip, but don't leave your pet alone inside the car for too long. To be on the safe side, get a seatbelt for your dog or a basket carrier for your puppy, to keep them secure while you're driving. Tagging along will be a great opportunity for him to expend some of his bottled up energy, and the interesting sights and smells, as well as the fun of socializing with other people, will be a treat in themselves.
There are daycare centers for pets where you can take your dog to simply let him play with other dogs. You can also enroll your dog in an indoor agility class, or arrange play dates with his favorite animal friend/s. Make sure that your dog has had all his necessary vaccinations, and ask your vet what other shots he may need to avoid getting sick during winter.
Do not let the cold months of winter make your canine friend miserable. With a little creativity, some simple toys, and a bit of extra time, your dog can have as much fun during the winter season as he does during spring or summer.