When the temperatures hit below freezing point and snow, ice, and cold become the order of the day, it can get difficult to make those long trips and walks to the park with our dogs. Especially if your two-legged friend is one of these short-haired breeds who quiver when temperatures dip.
But even in extreme temps, it is important that you keep your pup both physically and mentally active. Most dogs enjoy frisking in the white powdery stuff.
So we have put together some winter dog activities that will make the cold months less intimidating for you and your pet. Let’s dive in!
During winter, it is likely that you will be spending most of your time indoors, so set some time aside to teach your canine a new trick. Teach him how to walk properly while on leash. Show him how to greet guests politely. Train him how to sit.
Training will not only keep your pup active indoors but will also strengthen the bond between you two. Just don’t forget to bring some treats for the sessions.
Maybe your mutt is just not the kind that enjoys spending time indoors, and that’s okay. We have a few snow activities for dogs in mind that will keep your pet entertained while out there, one of them being nose work.
Scent tracking requires your dog to use their nose to detect and find a certain scent and show you the location or direction of the smell. The sport provides great mental and physical stimulation for canines who love to sniff.
Just make sure both of you are staying warm in the cold. An insulated jacket and a pair of boots for you, and a winter coat for your dog would be a great place to start.
Winter weather doesn’t always mean that those afternoon walks should be completely forgotten. If you love taking a stroll in the nearby woodland, there is no reason why you should not bring your pup with you.
Only that this time your walks should be shorter, as you don’t want your good friend to be in the cold for a long period. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog for signs of cold. If you see him shaking or shivering, abort the hike and take him back home.
Another sport that you should not leave out in your list of top five snow activities for dogs is fetching. In fact, move this baby to number one! Dogs love to chase and fetch stuff and this game will be perfect to promote your pup’s physical and mental health.
Use a brightly colored ball or disc that your pet can easily spot in the snow. You can even toss the object in the air for your dog to catch. It’s an easy and fun way for your dog to work out. Just don’t do it around ice; otherwise, you will both keep slipping and falling.
Allow your dog to play with other pets once in a while. Doggy playdates improve your pet’s social skills and give him the stimulation he needs when it is not possible to go outside.
Invite pet-owner friends and their pets to a ‘meet and play’ event at your home. Have some indoor winter dog activities lined up for the day.
Like humans, socializing is important for the mental health of your dog. It also keeps him happy and physically fit. And hey, don’t you think it’s nice to hang out with other dog-owner friends sometimes?
Winter Safety Tips For Dogs
Now that we all agree that it’s possible for you and your dog to have fun during winter, let’s review a few safety tips you should follow to keep your pet out of harm’s way while out in the snow.
- Limit the amount of time your pup spends outdoors in the snowy, cold weather.
- Have your doggy wear snow boots and/or a winter coat to keep him warm.
- Bring plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated so he is not forced to eat snow that may contain dirt, salt, chemicals, and other filth.
- When you get back home, clean your pup’s paws to get rid of any deicer residue which may be toxic to your pet.
- Older dogs, puppies, and those with arthritis may not be able to battle the cold outdoors, hence they should not be let outside during winter.
Q: How Can I Keep My Dog Active In Winter?
A: Outdoor sports like hiking, fetching, and scent tracking are some of the many ways you can keep your dog active in winter. If the day is too cold or blustery, have your dog play indoors. You can keep him entertained by teaching him new tricks or inviting a few playdates over.
Q: How Cold Is Too Cold To Walk A Dog?
A: Most healthy large or medium dogs can walk in temperatures of above 20˚ F for up to 30 minutes. Puppies, thin-haired breeds, small breeds, and senior dogs, should only go outside if the temperature is above 32 ˚ F. If it is below freezing point, no dog should be allowed outside.
Q: Does Cold Weather Make Dog s Tired?
A: Yes, cold weather may make your dog tired and sluggish, simply because there is a reduction in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating your pet’s mood. Reduced sunlight can cause a reduction in the amount of serotonin released in your pup’s brain, leaving your dog feeling tired and cranky.
Q: Do Dogs Need Blankets?
A: Yes, they do. In fact, dog owners are advised to provide extra warmth through heating, clothes, or blankets. Puppies and senior dogs, especially, will have a more difficult time staying warm, irrespective of their fur thickness. If you are cold, it is likely that your dog is cold too, so pull out the blankets or sweaters.