If you live in an area with chilly or downright frigid winter temperatures, you might be wondering how to keep your furry friend active and engaged. While walking a dog in cold weather might feel like a challenge some days, it's essential to prioritize your dog's physical and mental well-being by getting outside when you can and providing indoor activities too.
We’re sharing our best strategies to help your canine companion stay happy, healthy, and active throughout the winter months.
Indoor Activities for Dogs in Winter
A dog can get bored in the winter when the weather is too harsh for outdoor adventures. Try initiating these indoor activities to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated.
- Hide and Seek: This classic game is not just for kids! Have your dog sit and stay while you hide in another room. Call your dog and wait for the excitement as they search for you. Use treats or toys to reward their successful finds.
- Obstacle Course: Set up a simple obstacle course using household items like cushions, chairs, and tunnels. Guide your dog through the course, encouraging them with treats and praise. This provides physical activity and mental stimulation.
- Treat-Dispensing Toys: Invest in toys that dispense treats as your dog plays with them. These toys engage your dog's problem-solving skills and keep them entertained for extended periods. Examples include Kong toys and puzzle feeders.
- Scent Games: Dogs have an incredible sense of smell that you can harness with scent games. Hide treats or scented toys around the house so your dog can use their nose to find the hidden treasures.
- Interactive Games on Screens: Believe it or not, some dogs enjoy watching TV or playing interactive games on tablets. Apps specifically designed for dogs display moving objects or make sounds, providing both mental and visual stimulation.
- Teaching New Tricks: Use indoor time to teach your dog new tricks. Whether it's reinforcing basic commands, teaching them how to walk on a leash, or introducing more advanced tricks, the training process is mentally stimulating for your dog and strengthens your bond.
- Bubble Chasing: Many dogs love chasing bubbles. Use dog-safe solutions to blow bubbles for your dog to chase and pop. It's an entertaining way to get them moving indoors.
- Fetch in the Hallway: If you have a long hallway, play a game of fetch indoors using soft toys. This provides a safe space for your dog to run and burn off energy.
Remember to tailor these activities to your dog's individual preferences and physical abilities. The key is to keep the activities fun, positive, and rewarding for your furry friend.
Outdoor Winter Dog Activities
For the most part, dogs love many of the same activities in cold weather as they do in warmer weather. Going for a walk, playing fetch, or visiting a nearby trail or dog park works in most weather. If you live in a snowy area, you can try additional dog-friendly activities like snowshoeing or fetch with snowballs.
However, cold weather brings its own challenges. A common concern among dog owners is how the cold, snow, or frigid rain will affect their furry friend.
Dogs and Winter Weather FAQs
Can Dogs Walk in Snow?
The first thing many people worry about is the comfort of their dog’s paws in snow. Do dogs’ feet get cold in the snow? Dogs are naturally equipped to handle various weather conditions, including snow. But the pads of their paws are still vulnerable to freezing temperatures. This is why paw care is crucial. To mitigate the risks of irritated, cracked, or frostbitten paws, consider investing in dog-friendly boots to protect your pup's paws during winter walks. Additionally, take them for shorter walks.
How Long Can Dogs Walk in Snow Without Shoes?
The tolerance for walking in the snow varies among individual dogs. Some may happily frolic for extended periods, while others may start feeling uncomfortable sooner. As a rule of thumb, monitor your dog's behavior and paw conditions to learn their limits. If you notice signs of discomfort like whining, limping, holding their legs up, or excessively licking their paws, it's time to head indoors.
Make Your Winter Easier
Winter doesn't have to be a sedentary season for you or your four-legged friend. By understanding your dog's needs and taking precautions, you can enjoy a winter full of joy, exercise, and bonding. Keeping your dog active can be fun for both of you.
One thing that will never get more fun, however, is cleaning up dog poop during cold weather. Don’t let wintertime yard cleanup get you down. The friendly professionals at DoodyCalls can keep your yard clean and ready for play! Connect with the nearest DoodyCalls or call (888) 659-6558 to request a quote.