Five Cold Weather Activities for Dogs

November 22, 2015

All dogs need mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis to keep them happy and healthy. How much depends on a dog’s breed or mix, age, temperament, and health. In general, a young adult dog needs at least 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise plus a good dose of mental stimulation. This can take the form of teaching your dog a new trick, giving him an interactive toy or visiting some place new together. Here are five ideas for entertaining our four-legged friends through the winter months:

1: Enrichment toys!
Think KONG, wobble balls, treat dispensing toys, puzzles, etc. These will provide a challenge to your dog and also reward them with a tiny treat when they figure it out! Have your dog work for his evening meal. Soak his kibble in broth and then put it inside a toy and freeze it.

2: Training
Winter months can be a great time to practice with your dog. Stimulating your dog’s mind can wear them out more than you would imagine. This can be a fun time to test out agility, flyball, and other activities!

3: Treadmill
You know you’re the dedicated dog owner when you have invested in a treadmill solely for your pooch. A little training and you’ll be on your way! This is an excellent solution for exercising when time or weather is an issue.

4: Indoor Dog Parks / Dog Friendly Stores
Dog daycares and indoor dog parks are popping up more and more; a simple Google search for an indoor dog park might have you surprised to find one in your area. Also check with local doggy daycares as many offer open play times or private play times (gather a few friends and have a playdate!). Another idea is to take your dog on a mini outing. Visit your local dog-friendly pet store (work on some training while you’re there), pick up a bag of treats or a new toy and you’ll have one happy pup

5: Bundle Up!
Sometimes we just have to bundle up, protect ourselves (and dogs) from the cold, and have fun! Consider purchasing Musher’s Wax (or booties) for those with sensitive paws. Hiking can burn some calories and make for a day filled with adventure. And of course there’s always one of my favorite things to do: cuddling up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and embracing the warmth and comfort of having a dog by our side.

What are your favorite ways to keep busy in the winter with your dog?

Adapted from original work by Sarah Lukemire, Novemeber 2014