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Do Your Walks Get Shorter in the Winter?

Winter is coming. How does your dog feel about it? Some dogs would rather spend cold days covered in blankets, some can’t wait to plunge into snow piles like weasels.

Surely many of us have some kind of an idea how different seasons and temperatures affect our dogs’ activity levels, but surprisingly there isn’t a lot of scientific data to be found regarding this topic.

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The informative and lovely DoYouBelieveInDog? blog brought me to an English research project about this. It’s spearheaded by the Hot Dogs website, which is dedicated to spreading information about heat strokes and heat-related illnesses in dogs. Vet and scientist Emily Hall with her crew has an online survey up for finding out how external circumstances – especially extreme hot or cold – affect our dogs’ activity levels. How does the dog’s breed, age, gender or health influence it? And what exactly is an appropriate activity level for a dog?

This question is especially interesting for us at DOLO headquarters in Finland. How does cold or icy weather influence the dog’s activeness? Do your walks get shorter in the winter because of your dog’s sake or because you would personally prefer to go inside quicker when it’s cold? On the other hand we have a comparison point in the exceptionally hot summer this year. How active was your dog then?

This survey was interesting for me to respond to, as I personally love autumn rain and windy days. I’d love to go on long walks those days, but my whippet poodle disagrees with this idea. Participating in surveys like this tends to make you examine your dog’s well-being in a more detailed way. DoYouBelieveInDog? writes about this survey asking if your dog is moving as much as they were around this time last year? Do you know how your dog will be able to move around this time next year? These questions made at least me stop and ponder about it.

In addition to the more understandable reasons like hip problems, can conditions like long-term skin problems or epilepsy influence the dog’s ability and willingness to move? This is an interesting point in the research. The research also hopes to aid people choose a breed that suits their lifestyle and activity level when first considering getting a dog. For animal health professionals the research will hopefully provide new information about the effect of external circumstances to dogs’ activity level and how it may influence for example obesity.

So tell the world how active your dog is! The survey is meant for all kinds of dogs around the world. We at DOLO are eagerly anticipating the results and will return to them later on this blog.

You can participate in the survey until the end of 2018 here:

The blog of the project here:

© DOLO DogsLearnOnline / Outi

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