Cold-Weather Activities to Enjoy With Your Pet

How to Spend More Quality Time With Your Pup This Winter

The holiday season is a fun, festive time of year. It’s also one of the busiest times of the year. Between the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and decorating, it’s easy to lose sight of the reason for the season. At PetPlate, we believe the holidays should be about spending more quality time with your family, pup included. In this post, we’ll share ideas on how you can do that — even if it’s cold and snowy outside.  

Outdoor Activities

You and your family are your dog’s whole world, and there’s nothing they like more than hanging out with their pack. There are many fun ways to spend time with your pet outdoors. Just be sure to bundle up before heading out!

  • Take your pup on an extended walk in the evening to enjoy the holiday lights and decorations. You’ll love seeing your dog’s excited reactions to the neighborhood’s transformation. 
  • Running holiday errands? Bring your furry friend! They can help you pick out the perfect Christmas tree and keep you company while you shop for gifts at dog-friendly stores. No matter what adventures you have planned for the day, your dog’s favorite part will undoubtedly be sticking their head out the window. There are so many smells out there!
  • Bring your dog to your local pet store and let them pick out a holiday-themed toy. From there, make a surprise stop at the park to play. Your puppy will reward you with a heartwarming smile that clearly says, “I love you! I love the park! Today is the best!” 

To keep your dog healthy and happy, they need to keep a daily routine of walks and exercise even when it’s cold outside. Before you head out, be sure to plan for your cold-weather activities. If your dog has a short or thin coat, wrap them up in a cozy doggy sweater to keep them nice and warm. 

Some dogs are bred for cold weather and don’t need a sweater. In fact, if you have a breed like the Alaskan Malamute or Saint Bernard, they’ve probably been daydreaming about snow all year. 

Regardless of breed, it’s important to protect your dog’s feet from road salt or extended time in the snow. A set of snow shoes or other protective footwear will keep their paws safe. 

If your dog isn’t used to wearing boots, they’ll need some time to adjust. Dogs wearing boots for the first time is awkward and hilarious. Grab some treats to help motivate your pup to walk even though there’s something weird on their feet.

Indoor Activities

When it’s just too cold to head outside, you can celebrate the holidays with your pup while staying home. 

  • Set up a photo shoot with your dog for your holiday cards. You can go the simple-yet-adorable route of dressing them in a festive sweater, or you can go all out with it and create a holiday-themed background with plenty of toys and costume changes. It’s a great activity that your kids or other family members can join in on.
  • Enjoy a movie night with the whole family. Bonus points for matching holiday pajamas! Snuggle up on the couch with some tasty treats and watch your favorite holiday movies. (Don’t forget — your pup needs their own special treats.)
  • Play some mentally-stimulating games inside. Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is just as important as physical exercise. There are plenty of ways to take a break from the holiday rush and spend quality time with your doggo. 

You can challenge your dog’s sense of smell with a fun game of hide and seek or by sending them on a treasure hunt to sniff out treats you’ve hidden around the house. For both games, be sure to start things out on the “easy” level while they get the hang of the game. It may take some guidance in the beginning before they understand the rules. 

If you really want to step up the mental challenge, you can start your game of hide and seek with the “What the Fluff” challenge (not recommended for anxious dogs). In this challenge, you hold a blanket up in front of you, then lower and raise it a couple of times until your dog understands you’re behind it. Then, drop the blanket as you jump to the side to hide behind the wall. To your dog, it will seem like you suddenly disappeared. Once they get over their surprise, they can use their keen sense of smell to find you. 

You can also keep your dog engaged by teaching them new tricks. This is not only mentally stimulating but also emotionally rewarding. Dogs want to make you happy, and they get the warm fuzzies when you praise them for a job well done. 

For dogs with selective hearing, spend some time refreshing their basic skills such as sit, stay, and down. Once they’re pros at those, you can move on to more exciting tricks

Enjoy PetPlate for the Holidays AND Year-Round

You can use the tips above to spend more quality time with your dog during the holidays, and PetPlate can help you squeeze in more puppy time year-round. PetPlate saves you time by delivering fresh, healthy meals directly to your door — no cooking, shopping, or researching required! Answer a few quick questions to find out which meal options are best for your furry family member.