It’s getting colder in Minnesota and we’ve already had a few snowy days. During this time of the year, it can be difficult to stick to your dog’s exercise routine. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to have fun with your dog during these cold, winter months!
Here are five activities you and your dog can enjoy this winter:
1. Embrace the Snow
On warmer, snowy days, don’t despise the snow! Instead, enjoy it! There’s so much you and your dog can do! In your own back yard, you can play fetch or create a maze for your dog. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out some local hiking trails or even try out something new like skijoring or dog sledding. All we ask before you enjoy some outdoor winter fun is to make sure it’s not too cold for your dog and put on your dog’s winter gear (which includes protecting the paws)! It’s also important to exercise caution when your dog is near frozen bodies of water. The Minnesota DNR says that new, clear ice on a lake should be at least four inches thick for you to walk on it safely. Double that guideline when traveling on white, opaque ice. Not sure how thick the ice is? Contact your local bait shop for guidance.
2. Indoor Dog Fun
Do you want to get out of the house, but don’t want to brave the cold? There’s a number of places throughout the metro area that offer indoor fun for your dog.
- Stone Mountain Pet Lodge has an indoor dog park on Saturdays from 1-4pm at their Blaine location and on Sundays from 1-4pm at their Brooklyn Park location. It’s $10 per family, and be sure to call ahead to confirm availability. Stone Mountain Pet Lodge also offers doggy daycare.
- Dog Day Getaway in Apple Valley has indoor playgroups, as well as a private room option.
- The Dog Tank in Mendota Heights has an indoor pool for dock diving.
- Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota’s Oakdale clinic has an underwater treadmill (please call ahead for appointments.)
These are just a few of the many options offered to Twin Cities dogs!
3. Holiday Shopping
Need to get some shopping done, but don’t want to leave your dog at home? Then let him tag along with you! Check out some of these pet-friendly stores that allow your well-behaved dog to come inside! You may even want to stop and get photos of your dog with Santa!
4. At-Home Activities
Do you prefer to hibernate during the winter? That’s fine, we understand! But your dog still needs to exercise! This is why we recommend setting up an indoor agility course! Use cones, tunnels, boxes, and whatever else you can find! Or if you have a food-motivated dog, try out nose work! You can hide treats or pieces of your dog’s kibble in a puzzle toy (you can even use muffin tins) or in spots around the house. Make your dog sniff out the food!
5. Holiday Baking
Do the holidays get you in a baking mood? Then why not make some homemade pet treats?
We hope you and your dogs have a wonderful winter season! Remember, if you do have a pet emergency and your family veterinarian is unavailable, both our Oakdale and St. Paul clinics are open 24/7, every day of the year.
By Janine Hagen