Winter Dog Activities To Keep Your Pet Healthy And Active

Holiday & Seasonal
French Bulldog in Snow

Cold weather, heavy rain, and dark snow-filled days can wreak havoc on your dog’s normal routine. They’re going to expect their usual walk and play sessions to happen on-schedule.

When that doesn’t happen, they could be restless and unhappy. Here are some ways to make these activities fun and engaging to use up that excess energy.

We broke up our list into three parts:

  1. Things to Do With Dogs in the Winter

  2. How to Keep Dogs Active in Winter

  3. Places to Take Your Dog in the Winter

Plus, we'll answer a few frequently-asked questions along the way.

Things to Do With Dogs in the Winter 

You can substitute daily outdoor activities for winter dog activities to keep your dog entertained. Keep in mind, a bored dog is going to get into trouble.

They may chew on your belongings, raid the trash cans, bark too much, or bounce on the furniture. Keeping your dog’s brain and body busy is the best way to prevent problematic behavior.

How to Keep Dogs Active in Winter

Here are some fun activities to help your furry friend get exercise and avoid getting stir crazy when they can't be outside as much.

Keep Your Dog Entertained with Toys

Use your imagination to keep you and your dog busy. For example, food-dispensing toys or puzzle toys are great for mental stimulation.

To add onto the list of winter activities, you can try playing hide and seek with their favorite toy.

Practice Tricks and Obedience Training

When you teach your dog tricks, you’ll practice your training skills as well as your dog's ability to learn new moves.

You’ll have fun while you challenge your dog, and you’ll keep their brain and body busy on those cold, winter days.

When it comes to obedience training, you can practice the “sit”, “down”, and “stay” commands in various places around the house.

You can even train your dog while watching TV. Have a small treat at hand and when commercials come on, practice a few times.

Exercise Your Dog

The hardest part of being housebound is making sure your dog is getting enough exercise. It’s easier if you have a toy or small breed dog, but it’s hard to exercise a large or giant breed dog inside.

Puppy Push-Ups

Puppy push-ups can be a good brain and body exercise for dogs of all sizes. Start with just a few push-ups and then increase how many your dog does. See how many your dog can do in 30 seconds.

Tug of War

Dogs love a good round of tug of war. It's great exercise and engages them in a fun activity with you. 

If you have the room inside, remove anything breakable from the area and challenge your dog to a feat of strength!

Dog Olympics in the Hallway

If you’re not in a second or third floor apartment, toss a ball down the hallway and let your dog do some retrieving.

To make things more exciting, add a few obstacles like an agility course for your dog to jump over as they dash down the hall. 

A height of two inches for a toy breed dog (or older dogs), and eight inches for a large breed dog are good height specs to follow.

However, it’s best not to do this on a slippery floor as the chance of injury is too great. 

How Long Can a Dog Play in the Snow?

The amount of time a dog can handle being in the snow and ice depends on the age and breed of your dog. You can use our cold weather chart to help determine how long they can stay outside.

Outside time for a walk or game of fetch is great, but there's even more to consider than just the cold. For instance, a dog's paws can get sore or injured if there's salt or ice around.

In particular, the ice can irritate their paw pads.

The most important thing you can do is dress your dog appropriately for the weather and pay attention to physical signs such as shaking or whimpering.

If you know your dog well you’ll be able to tell whether they are enjoying themselves or not.

Do Dogs Get Bored in Winter?

Just like humans, many dogs get bored in the winter, too. While some breeds were made for the cold climate, like Huskies, short-haired dogs tend to appreciate the weather less.

That doesn’t mean your dog can’t have fun during this time, though!

Places to Take Your Dog in the Winter 

Indoor Dog Parks

While indoor dog parks are not super common, if your city has one near you then you’re in luck! Your dog won’t miss time outdoors when the indoor dog park has so much to offer.

Dog-Friendly Cafes

Pet-friendly cafes and restaurants have become more common as the pet parent population grows. A lot of cafes have patio spaces you can bring your dogs to.

You can also take a trip to your local pet store with your dog in tow. Most pet stores welcome well-behaved pets to walk around in their leashes through the aisles. 

Doggy Play Dates

If you have friends that are dog owners, you can schedule indoor play dates at each other’s homes. Play date tip: bring some snacks for the dogs to share if you’re a guest at someone’s house.