As a caring pet parent, you know it's important to figure out how to keep dogs active, but finding weather-appropriate dog activities can be easier said than done. Fewer daylight hours and chilly temperatures in the winter, and hot, humid days don't just affect humans – our pets can also suffer from the lack of outdoor time. It's essential to keep your dog's body and mind active (here's a look at the best dog toys that do just that), no matter their breed or size. By researching activities with dogs that are appropriate for the season, you're already taking a step in the right direction.
When you find the right activities to keep dogs busy no matter the weather, you're not just benefiting your dog's health, you're also growing your relationship with your pet. You'll both get a feel-good boost of endorphins by boosting your heart rate, exercising, and spending time together, and you'll feel great knowing that you're doing all you can to make your dog's health a top priority.
Fill your pocket with treats, and let's dig into the top ways to keep your furry friend active no matter what's going on outside.
Winter and Indoor Dog Activities
If it's chilly in your area, it can be tough to figure out how to help your dog get their energy out. Check out our list of activities you can do with your pup when Mother Nature turns cold.
- Hide and seek with treats: Playing hide and seek with your dog is a great way to exercise both their body and mind. Hiding a few treats around the house before your dog wakes up can help them get some energy out first thing in the morning. Guide them to the first treat and excitedly follow them around as they look for more.
- Dog training: Whether you're getting started with puppy kindergarten or working on getting your dog certified as a therapy animal, dog training is a perfect opportunity to exercise your dog mentally and physically. Many dog trainers provide indoor options or may be able to meet you at your home to provide training services.
- Tug of war: Head over to the pet supply store with your dog and pick out a new rope, then get to work! You'll get a fantastic upper body workout, and your dog will love the back and forth that tug of war provides.
- Food puzzles: Your dog loves to eat, and providing them with food puzzles can add mental stimulation to normal daily activities. Rotating food puzzles can help your dog stay interested over time.
- Get your dog on the treadmill: Yes, your dog can get a great workout on the treadmill when it's too cold or rainy to walk outside! Experts recommend first having your dog walk on a stationary treadmill to get used to the feeling of the belt on their paws. Introducing your dog to the treadmill slowly is key for their safety--be sure to reward them every step of the way for going out of their comfort zone and trying something new.
Warm Weather Dog Activities
Whether you're lucky enough to live in an area where it's warm year-round or you're enjoying the summer sun, it's essential to be careful when you take your dog outside in hot weather. Chat with your vet about precautions you need to take to keep your dog's specific breed safe in hot weather and be sure to provide plenty of cool, fresh water and access to shade when you and your pup are spending time together in warmer weather months.
- Hiking and walking with your dog: Getting outside for a walk or hike is a great way to exercise your pup mentally and physically. Allow your dog to take their time on the trail, sniffing and exploring to boost the experience. Be sure to stay aware of the regulations in your area regarding whether your dog is required to remain on a leash while on the trail.
- Swimming: Taking your dog to a local pond, lake, or ocean can help them get the exercise they need. Be sure to bring some floating toys to entice your dog into the water. If you're so inclined, dive in with them--they'll love spending time in the water with you!
- Geocaching: Ready to find some treasures while giving your dog the exercise they need? Geocaching will let you explore your community, find treasures, and give you and your dog mental and physical challenges.
- Dog Park: Socialization and exercise for you and your dog? Hitting up the dog park is a fantastic way to meet other dog parents, let your furry friend socialize and run out the zoomies, and make new friends for doggie play dates.
- Beach walk: Taking your dog on an oceanside walk can be an excellent way for both of you to chill out after a long day. Be sure to pack your dog's favorite Frisbee or ball to help them get a little extra exercise boost. Remember to pack fresh water--you don't want your thirsty dog to be stuck with an ocean of water and nothing to drink.
The Bottom Line for Keeping Your Pet Active
You know that mental and physical exercise is key to keeping your dog healthy, and changing up their activities is a smart way to keep them engaged. Take a screenshot of our lists above or bookmark this page so you always have ideas for keeping your pup moving, no matter the forecast.