It is officially winter, and while the days are getting a little longer, it’s freezing outside. The recent cold front that most of the Canada and the US just encountered has led many people to ask what winter activities they can do with their dog when the temperature is close to or at freezing levels.
We will explore the top ten things you can do with your dog in the winter, from indoor to outdoor activities, to keep them physical along with mental activities.
What to do with a dog when it’s cold?
Keeping your furry friend safe during the winter is important.
When temperatures drop below -6 Celsius or 20 Fahrenheit, your dog is more likely to develop hypothermia and frostbite. While they need to go outside to do their duty, it may not be ideal for taking them on long walks or playing outdoors.
This leads people to ask what they can do with their dog when it’s freezing outside. Keep an eye out for the weather because if it heats up a bit, you can do a lot of winter activities with your dog.
If you live in an area that gets snow, you can take your dog snowshoeing. They will enjoy the snow while getting their energy out. This can be a quick outing you do when it’s warmer. Always make sure to protect your dog’s paws with booties and keep an eye out for any shivering or other physical warnings that they are getting cold.
Visit the Pet Store
Most dogs love a car ride, especially to one of their favorite places – the Pet Store. This can be a fun activity to take your dog with you so you are both out of the house. You can control the temperature in the car, and once you get to the pet store, they can pick out a new toy to play with at home. They will be able to socialize with employees and hopefully other dogs as well.
Have a cozy day in
Make the most out of a cold day by having a fun day inside. Include your dog in all of the activities, from baking some dog-safe treats to having them help you pick out something to watch. You can light some candles or your fireplace, snuggle up with your dog, and watch a movie.
How do you tire a dog in the winter?
If the temperature is too cold for your dog, your dog may have more energy because they aren’t doing its typical activities, from walks to running outside.
On the other hand, if your dog has a lot of energy in the evenings, they probably aren’t getting enough exercise during the day. This can be a challenge with the cold weather, but here are indoor and outdoor activities to help tire your dog out.
Get creative and make an indoor or outdoor obstacle course for your dog. This type of activity can keep them occupied for a while which can help them expend more energy and tire them out.
If you set this up indoors, use chairs, broken-down boxes, or even pillows for them to navigate through. If you are able to play outside (and if it recently snows), you can make a snow obstacle course by digging out a trail for them to follow.
Every dog will have a different activity level. Some dogs sleep most of the day while others require hours of physical activity.
If you live in a cold weather location and have a dog who needs more physical activity, there are great agility training kits that are stackable and waterproof. These can be used outdoors when the weather is nice, but can even be set up inside if you have the space.
Fetch is a great game you can play outside with your dog to get them to tire out, even if it’s only for a few minutes. If the weather warms up for a bit, you can take your dog outside for a few rounds of fetch.
Then, if they seem like they aren’t cold, you can keep playing. This is a great way to help your dog expend energy in a fast way. Running back and forth will help them tire out faster.
A scavenger hunt is another great indoor or outdoor activity. If it’s not too cold, you can set up a scavenger hunt for your dog to find treats or toys.
You can do the same inside as well and hide treats under pillows, behind a planter, and more. This is a great way for you to be creative and busy with your dog as they search for everything you’ve hidden.
How do I mentally stimulate my dog in winter?
Keeping your dog mentally stimulated during the winter can be a challenge, especially if your dog loves playing outside or socializing with people or other dogs.
From being cold outside to winter travel plans, your dog may not be as mentally stimulated as normal.
If your dog has a human or dog best friend, set up a play date with that person or pet. They can either come to your home, or you can make it a trip to visit them.
Playing with someone new can be very mentally stimulating for your dog because it breaks up their routine, and they can play with someone new.
If your dog loves toys, find a more interactive toy that they can play with. This will allow them to do their favorite activity while at the same time being mentally stimulated.
Interactive toys can be anything from a toy that has a treat inside for them to find from plush toys with parts that can be taken out. There are even high-tech interactive toys like a fetch machine they can feed a ball to and it automatically fetches.
Learn a New Trick
Teach your dog a new trick or a few during the cold, winter months. This is a very mentally rewarding thing to do with your dog, no matter their age.
Spend 5-15 minutes every day on a new trick. As they master one trick, they add a new trick. You’ll be keeping your dog mentally stimulated and knowing that they have a new behavior skill you can control from sitting, staying, and more.
Freezing Outside? No Problem!
Keeping your best friend occupied during the winter can seem like a challenge, but there are a lot of options to keep your dog physically and mentally active.
There are indoor and outdoor activities that you can do with your dog to keep them stimulated throughout the cold months.
Main image credit: dageldog