Winter is coming… which means you and your pup are in for lots of cold weather fun. It might seem like winter will keep you guys housebound and bored, but there are plenty of activities you and your dog can do in the cold that’ll keep you active and in good spirits — and a few you can do indoors when it’s a bit too cold.
Before embarking on any outdoor activity, check the temperature and weather outside and limit the time outside to avoid health issues for you or your pet. Some pets don’t tolerate cold weather as well as others so be sure to monitor your pet for signs that they need to go inside. See these Cold Weather Safety Tips to keep yourself safe.
Let your pup exercise their sniffer out in the snow. Nose work provides both physical and mental challenges for your pup, and is especially fun for sniffing breeds like Beagles, Dachshunds, and Terriers. It can be done any time of year and indoors as well as outdoors, but the outdoor, snowy element will make it extra challenging for your pooch.
What could be more fun than playing tag with your pup in the snow? Chase your dog around for a bit, tag them, then let them chase you around for a bit. It’s great exercise for both of you.
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Snow fetch is different from regular fetch because instead of throwing a toy, you throw snowballs. It’ll drive your dog nuts in the most fun way possible — they’ll wonder what happened to the snowball, at least until you throw the next one. Plus, you’ll have a limitless toy supply. Just remember not to throw them at your dog. You don’t want to scare them!
Put a twist on dog sledding — put your dog in a sled and pull them around in the snow. Depending on how big your dog is it’ll give you a nice workout.
Take advantage of the winter wonderland and turn your pooch into a model for a day. You can even enlist a friend to take photos of you and your pup playing in the snow together — think of the holiday card possibilities!
Indoor Dog Park
If your dog doesn’t handle the cold weather well but still loves to play, bring them to an indoor dog park. They’ll be able to socialize with other dogs without being exposed to the chilly air and snow. This is an especially good option for smaller and older dogs who have trouble outdoors when the weather’s rough.
Doga, or dog yoga, is perfect for dog owners who already do yoga on their own. It’s relaxing fun for any pup, but the gentle stretching makes it particularly great exercise for older dogs and dogs with joint issues. Plus, it’ll give your pooch the chance to interact with other pups.
There’s a lot to be said for just hanging out at home with your pup for the day. Make some hot cocoa for yourself, give your dog a couple treats, queue up your favorite movies on Netflix, grab your favorite blanket, and settle in for some high-quality snuggling.
Whatever shenanigans you and your pooch get in to this winter, make sure they’re dressed for the weather. If it’s snowy out, your pup might need a coat and shoes to keep them warm, especially if they’re not a breed well-equipped for the cold weather.
If your pup is 30 lbs or more, well-equipped for the cold, and used to a lot of physical activity, you can try out a fun winter sport called skijoring, a mix between cross country skiing and dog mushing. You’ll need a special dog harness and belt to attach to your cross country equipment so your dog can pull you through the snow. Stick to flatter ground for a while so you and your pooch can get used to the sport.