Dogs have always been a part of my life, which means when I think about winter time, it’s thoughts of dog cuddles, dogs lazing in front of the fire and fun in the snow together that often spring to mind.
But as this list shows, there’s also lots of other fun things to do with your dog in the winter…
1. Play hide and seek with a toy
Snow makes games of hide and seek extra fun and stimulating for your dog as their noses have to try that little bit harder in order to find the toy you’ve hidden. And for you, you’ll simply enjoy finding new hiding spots and watching them hunt for the toy.
2. Try to catch a snowball
If your dog loves playing regular games of catch, then they’ll probably love a game of catch with a snowball. Plus it’ll give their brains a bit of a workout while they try to figure out why the “ball” keeps disappearing!
3. Go on long winter walks together
Crunchy leaves, frosty mornings, snow falling… everything about winter walks screams fun and provides plenty of stimulation for your pooch. Enjoy going on long walks together before coming home and chilling out in front of the fire (or radiator).
4. Chill out in front of the fire
Dog cuddles are one of the best things in the world. And when they also happen in front of a fire (real or electric), they’re that much better. You’ll both be happy to lay there for hours, maybe with a movie playing in the background or Christmas tunes playing on the radio.
5. Have a fashion parade in your winter coats
Times have changed a lot in recent years when it comes to “doggy fashion”. Dogs now have access to a huge range of clothes and accessories, and winter coats in particular, are a must-have for both fashion and practicality. We love this wool one by Barbour or this all-weather coat by Banbury & Co. You’ll love having a little fashion parade with your dog… get the camera ready!
6. Open lots of Christmas presents!
When winter hits, so does Christmas (at least in the US and Europe!) You and your dog will both love opening Christmas gifts together. Just watch out for any food or plastic that they may be able to get a hold of when opening their gifts.
7. Visit a Christmas market
Most Christmas markets in the UK and Europe are outside, which means your dog will more than likely be able to join you. Just make sure you keep them close to you so that they don’t get lost in the crowds or have the opportunity to grab some chocolate or other treat they can’t have from the floor.
8. Go glamping or stay in a log cabin
Seen as the warmer and cosier alternative to camping, glamping is such a fun thing to do with your dog in the winter. When choosing where to go, your best bet would be to find somewhere deep in the woods or close to a National Park so that you can enjoy lots of winter walks together, followed by chilling out next to a campfire. We love the Glencoe Cabins and Caravans in Scotland and this Glamping Pod in Norfolk. If you’d prefer to stay somewhere that is even cosier than a quirky glamping pod and is more likely to have a fire indoors, then staying in a log cabin is also a great winter retreat. We recommend the Long Mountain Centre Log Cabins in Yorkshire or Rock Lodge in Northumberland.
9. Bake homemade dog treats together
Okay, so the process of actually baking the dog treats is probably something you won’t get much help with from your pooch (other than a hoover up job if you drop food on the floor a lot like I do), but it can be really fun to decide what to put in the treats, as well as making them into bone shapes (or similar) and then watching your pooch wolf them down. Some great ingredients to use are shredded carrot, bacon pieces, peanut butter, apples and cheese. There are some great recipes on the Cesar’s Way website, and on Sally’s Baking Addiction like these soft peanut butter and carrot dog treats and these peanut butter and bacon ones.
10. Setup an indoor agility course
If you’ve finished playing in the snow and need a break from the cold, or if you and your pup just don’t like being outside at this time of year, then this is an indoor agility course’s time to shine. You’ll have loads of fun setting up mini obstacles and games like cushion slaloms, chair fort tunnels and food puzzle games. And if you want to go the full hog, then why not splash out on an agility course starter kit like this one from Amazon?
Important things to know when playing with your dog in the winter
Even though many breeds of dog have thick fur coats to keep them warm, they’re still at risk of developing frostbite on their paws or hypothermia if kept out in the cold for too long.
There are various winter safety tips you should know such as:
- Aim for short bursts of fun outside, followed by longer periods indoors
- Invest in a good winter coat for your dog like this one or this one
- Protect your dog from open fires with a fire guard
- Avoid icy paths and steps where possible so your dog (and you) don’t fall
- Invest in an LED light for your dog’s collar and a handheld torch to help keep an eye on your dog during dark winter walks
- Learn the warning signs of frostbite (e.g. pale, grey or blue skin, painful ears, tail or paws and skin that stays cold), as well as hypothermia (e.g. violent shivering, weak pulse, problems breathing, lethargy and a lack of appetite)… if in doubt, always consult a vet!
Otherwise… have lots of fun with your dog at this magical time of the year!
What are some other fun things to do with a dog in winter? Let me know in the comments below…
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