Fall and winter mean celebrating the holidays, curling up with a good book and watching football. But while you’re indoors staying cozy and warm, how does your pup keep active? Here are some simple ways you can entertain Fido and keep him feeling energized and healthy (without you suffering from frostbite).

  • Laser Pointer: Not just for cats, they can provide hours of endless entertainment (and exercise) for dogs too. They might bark at first, but once they learn that it won’t hurt them, you might find yourself equally as amused as your dog! (tip: flashlights work too) 
  • Hide and Go Seek: A classic for kiddos, this game works for canines as well. Place small training treats in somewhat hidden areas around the house and your dog can go sniff them out. As they get the hang of it, you can get more creative with your hiding spots. But, be sure to go easy on the treats so you don’t defeat the purpose of working out. 🙂 
  • Create an Obstacle Course: Using Amazon boxes, paper bags, pillows, chairs and other items around the house, set up a jungle gym for your dog to run through. Using a treat dangled in front of their face to guide them through the maze. Then reward them at the end (or along the way). 
  • Have a Dance Party: Turn on the music, shake things up and shimmy around the house. This could work well while cleaning and, as a bonus, you can kill two birds with one stone. Just make sure your dog doesn’t get carried away and steal any of your dance moves. 
  • Arrange a Puppy Play Date: Is there a fellow dog in the neighborhood? See if they’re up for a little play time together. Or you can use Rover.com to find a companion. Bonus: pet parents can use the alone time to run errands or enjoy a day out. 
  • Stair Climbing: If you have stairs in your home, then you’re in luck! Toss a toy to the top of the staircase and have your dog fetch it to run back to you. Repeat several times until your dog is bored. Or better yet, join in the fun and race them! 
  • Dog Treadmill: Yes, you read that correctly! Dog treadmills are a thing and are specifically designed with indoor dogs in mind. Today’s dog treadmills feature quiet motors that won’t distract pups and walls on the sides to prevent them from falling off the edge. Learn more about dog treadmills, safety tips, and our recommended picks, depending on your dog’s size. 
  • Dog Yoga: Aka “Doga”. It can help with flexibility and joint pain, especially during colder months when bones tend to get extra creaky. Gently guide your dog into simple stretches and poses that won’t strain or hurt them. And if you’re a yogi, grab a mat and do some down dogs together. You may even learn a new move or two, courtesy of Fido! 
  • Take a Hike: Literally. But, if you do venture outside to brave the cold, make sure your dog is bundled up with a jacket and snow booties, if the weather is frosty. While they do have a fur coat, depending on its thickness, an extra layer may help to retain some extra heat and keep their paws protected from the ice and snow.

About the Author: Sadie Cornelius is the Director of Marketing for CanineJournal.com, the go-to resource for all things dog in every aspect of caring for your beloved pups. From health concerns and food to pet insurance and dog sitting, she’s been writing about dog-related topics and reviews since 2012. She also oversees the website’s branding, graphic design and marketing strategy. Although she doesn’t have any pets herself, Sadie is a huge animal lover and dog sits regularly for furry friends.