5 Cold Weather Activities to Do with Dogs

You and your dog don’t have to be bored when it gets cold outside. Here are five cold weather activities you both can enjoy!

Jul 7, 2024byKristen Chandler

cold weather activities with dogs

Most dogs are playful, and all dogs need exercise. However, this gets tough when the weather gets colder. You may be afraid to take your pup out in the cold or snow, especially if they are older. Also, your dog may not be a fan of the cold weather in general.

While you may be tempted to curl up in front of the fireplace with your furry friend, they could get bored inside without stimulation. Here are five indoor and outdoor activities you can do with your dog while it’s cold.

1. Go for a Winter Walk or Hike

dog walk in the snow
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

You can take your dog for a hike or walk, even if it’s snowing outside. Still, you’ll need to take extra precautions, some of which you wouldn’t have to take in normal weather conditions. Here’s what to know:

  • Consider your dog’s age, size, and outdoor temperature before taking them out. Medium to large dogs, as well as younger dogs, can venture out for about 30 minutes in cooler temps, while smaller and older dogs need to limit their excursions to no more than 20 minutes. If it’s below zero, stay inside.
  • Some dog breeds, like Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, aren’t fans of the cold winter weather. Larger breeds like Doberman Pinschers and Pitbulls aren’t fans, either. This is because they have poor insulation, unlike double-coated dog breeds.
  • Just like you bundle up to go out when it’s cold, your pup could use some extra protection. Consider getting your dog a winter jacket or sweater, especially if they’re a single-coated breed. If you live in an area prone to snow, dog booties can help protect their paws.

2. Get Crafty and Paint Something

dog paw painting
Image credit: Bored Panda

Painting is not just a human hobby. Your four-legged companion can get in on the action, too. When painting with dogs, you can go two different routes:

Paw Painting

This is a fun, interactive way to paint with your pup. All you need is a poster board or canvas, paint, a drop cloth to minimize mess, and your dog! When choosing paint, be sure to get washable, non-toxic paints. Check the labels to ensure they don’t contain benzoyl alcohol, henna, or xylitol. All are toxic to dogs.

Lay out the drop cloth and place the canvas or poster board on top. Then dip your pup’s paw in the paint and let them have fun! You can clean up their paws afterward, or you can give them a bath if things get messy.

Lick Painting

Lick Painting
Image credit: Sundays for Dogs

This method of puppy painting means less involvement from you, but your dog will get a tasty treat while creating a masterpiece. Put a few drops of paint on a canvas. Then cover the top of a plastic bag (large enough to place the canvas inside) in peanut butter. Carefully place the canvas inside the bag without smearing the paint.

Let your dog lick the peanut butter off the bag. When they’ve licked all the paint off, remove the canvas from the bag and place it somewhere safe to dry.

3. Visit an Indoor Dog Park

indoor dog park
Image credit: BringFido

If your pup needs exercise but it’s just too cold to get outdoors, indoor dog parks are a great option. This is also an excellent way for your dog to socialize with other dogs. You can meet a friend with a dog at a nearby dog park for a playdate or take your pup to an indoor park to meet new canine friends.

Some indoor parks have an area for dogs to play, like outdoor dog parks. However, some parks have agility and obstacle courses, and some even offer obedience training. Some parks may require a membership fee to attend, so make sure you do your homework before just going. Also, be sure to review how to stay safe at dog parks.

4. Try Skijoring

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Skijoring is a Scandinavian sport that has recently gained much traction in the U.S. It combines cross-country skiing and dog mushing.

You do need a larger dog for this activity. The dog wears a harness and pulls you through the snow on skis, so your dog should be big and strong enough to do this. Most skijoring organizations recommend using a dog that weighs at least 35 pounds.

If you live somewhere that gets snow in the winter, like to ski, and have a high-energy dog that likes to run, you should try skijoring!

5. Learn a New Tricks or Brush Up

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Suppose your dog prefers to stay indoors for the most part, or it’s just too cold or wet to take them outside. In that case, this is the perfect opportunity to work on basic training commands or even learn a new trick. Even if you brush up on commands your pup has already learned, repetition and practice are good for them. It’s also a good bonding activity for all parties involved.

Kristen Chandler
byKristen Chandler

Kristen is a content writer, dog lover, and a mom to 3 teenagers and a feisty Schnoodle named Sam. Sam loves barking, running, and spending time with his family. However, he isn't a fan of FedEx and UPS trucks! Kristen likes spending time with her family, rooting for kids in all their activities, reading, and listening to true crime podcasts.