Is dog exercise equipment worth it? Well, it depends on your home, your dog, and your climate. As winter approaches, owners of high-energy dogs might want to take a look at some of these top dog exercise picks.
If you have a snow hound, sports like skijoring can keep them active and fit all winter long. But shorter days make it harder to get out in the daylight, and winter weather can get in the way of a productive dog exercise session.
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If your pup has cold feet about spending time outside in winter, you can help them get their exercise indoors.
Why dogs need exercise (even when it’s snowing)
No matter how big or small your dog, or how young or old, they need exercise to maintain their health. Regular exercise helps your dog:
- Expend extra energy
- Reduce unwanted behaviors related to boredom or anxiety
- Maintain cardiovascular health
- Have fun!
Of course, different dogs require different levels of activity. Click here to learn more about how much exercise dogs need. During the winter, it’s more challenging for us humans find the time and energy for long outdoor play sessions. That’s where exercise equipment comes in.
We’ve scoured online reviews to find a variety of indoor exercise equipment for dogs. These tools, ranging from high-tech gadgets to simple fitness standards, will keep your dog fit and happy all winter long.
And best of all, you don’t have to go out into the cold to get them: just click and shop from home!
From doggy treadmills to automatic ball launchers, these are some of the most popular options for giving your dog plenty of activity indoors.
Play fetch inside with the PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher ($149.95)
I know what you’re thinking: no throwing balls inside! But the PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher has six angle settings and nine distance settings that let you set a safe trajectory indoors.
Once your dog gets the hang of the self-play action, they’ll be active and happy all winter long. And after winter ends, take it outside for year-round play!
- Built-in motion sensor and safety features let your dog play with or without you present.
- Runs on batteries OR power cord for totally portable play.
- Built-in rest feature guarantees your pet won’t overdo it.
- As with any automatic toy, there is a learning curve. It may take some time for your dog to get the hang of it.
- Some reviewers warn about the loud sound made each time a ball launches.
Most helpful review: “My dog absolutely loves this thing…I also love knowing that she is safe when using it, due to the sensor on the front which makes sure she is a safe distance away from the launcher.”
Core strength for dogs with a FitPaws Balance Disc ($40.65)
Balance discs (also called “wobble discs”) are commonly used for core strength in humans, but dogs can use them, too! The FitPaws version is specially designed for dogs, with a durable, paw-friendly surface.
Balance discs teach body awareness, and they help older dogs maintain strength and balance. Balance disc training is a fun way to bond with your dog throughout the winter.
- Can adjust inflation level for different exercises and challenges
- Durable material won’t puncture or pop
- Easy to store vertically behind the couch when not in use
- Does not come with a pump
- One disc will work for smaller dogs, but larger dogs will need two for most training exercises
Most helpful review: “This is a great training tool to teach balance while pivoting around it. My dog loves it!”
Winter running inside with the DogPACER Folding Fitness Treadmill ($567.09)
We can’t talk about dog exercise equipment without addressing treadmills. Dog treadmills are especially beneficial in physical therapy and rehabilitation contexts, but they’re also useful for high-energy dogs who just can’t get all their ya-yas out in winter weather.
If your dog needs to run, and they can’t do it in the snow, a dog treadmill might be a good investment.
- Comes with comprehensive manual and training guide (important, because you’ll want to introduce your dog to the treadmill gradually, with lots of treats!)
- Pre-programmed “workouts” althernate walking and jogging speeds to keep things interesting for your dog
- Folds up for storage
- Learning curve may be steep; some dogs simply don’t take to treadmills
- Some reviewers note that the machine is noisy
Most helpful review: “It took about a week to get my dog used to walking on the treadmill…Lots of patience, repetition, and treats. Your experience will vary depending on your dog. Just be patient and let your dog become comfortable slowly.”
Winter obstacle course in the Zip Zoom Indoor Dog Agility Starter Kit ($21.19)
Agility is a fantastic dog sport, and you don’t have to go outside or to a fancy club to start the basics. This affordable starter kit includes a jump, tunnel, and weave poles to challenge and exert your dog.
Eventually, you may graduate to “real” heavy-duty agility equipment, but this inexpensive kit is a great pick for indoor winter fun. And even if your dog is already an agility pro, consider this a winter back-up kit for days when you just can’t make it out of the house.
- Very easy to set up indoors
- Packs into a carrying bag for easy storage and transport
- A nice beginner set to get your dog accustomed to agility course items
- Reviewers note the material is flimsy. May be better for smaller dogs.
- Items are not regulation size (though some reviewers consider this a “pro” for ease of training)
Most helpful review: “I am not a trainer so I am not going to invest in high quality agility training equipment only for fun. So, $24.99 isn’t bad at all! And I love how portable it is!”
Exercise equipment for dogs can be a huge help in wintertime. However, indoor exercise isn’t only for winter. The exercise equipment for dogs listed above are all functional in any season.
Just be sure to follow manufacturer’s safety and training advice, and always supervise your dog around exercise equipment.