There is still plenty of fun to be had during the cold winter months and what better way to enjoy than with your furry friend by your side! Whether going out for an adventure or staying in where it’s warm and cozy, here are a few ideas of fun things to do.
- Hiking: Some of the most beautiful sights to see happen during the winter months. Suit up in your warm clothes and go for an adventure with your dog by your side. Central Oregon is full of beautiful landscapes including some beautiful waterfalls that are worth seeing in the snow! For some ideas of places to go, check out Visit Bend’s link here.
- Skijoring: Here’s a new one to try for those who have big dogs. Skijoring is an adapted version of a sled dog team with you, a set of skis, and your pup! Tie a rope around your waist and attach it to your dog’s harness and have some fun as you work together to slide along the snow. There are many trails and forest service roads on the way up to Mt. Bachelor or Hoodoo, or pick a spot to adventure on your own. Make sure to do your research beforehand as some of the trails do not allow dogs.
- Scavenger Hunts: Winter is a great time for testing your dog’s senses. Use some favorite toys or treats and hide them either around the house or in a designated area outside. Have fun helping them search around for fun rewards!
- Bubbles and Snowballs: Dogs love playing in the snow, especially when snowballs are involved. What’s more fun than a ball you can eat? Just remember to pack them gently so they break apart easily and throw up in the air rather than directly at your dog. If the snow hasn’t fallen yet, try bubbles! Bubbles have the same fun care-free effect as snowballs and can be just as fun for both you and your dog.
- Outdoor Eats: If you have a socialite dog, think about taking them to an outdoor venue you both can enjoy. Bend is full of dog-friendly outdoor food trucks, breweries, and restaurants. Cozy up in a warm jacket and enjoy a relaxing and fun time of eating some good food and having some of the great drinks Bend has to offer with your dog by your side.
- Art: If you’re craving the warmth of the indoors, get your creativity on and do some fun art with your pet. Use treats or other safe foods to build a sculpture or get some pet-safe paint and see what masterpieces you can create! Acrylic paints are typically safe for pet use because they are designed for children to be safe on skin. If you are looking for another alternative, The Real Milk Paint Co. makes a variety of colors using powdered milk as a base. Just add water and enjoy!
- Baking: Have some fun with your baking buddy. Find a fun pet treat recipe online and make it with your pet, enjoy taste tests along the way and a yummy treat when the baking’s complete! Here are some dog-approved suggestions to get you started.
- Cuddles and movies: The perfect end to a long day just might include being cuddled up in a warm blanket with your pet and watching a fun movie.
If the outdoors is calling you, here are some tips to make sure your dog stays safe and cozy while out in the winter weather.
Paws: Just as our dog’s paws can be sensitive to summer heat, they can also be sensitive to the cold and damaged by the dryness and salt from winter. There are several options for protecting your pets paws.
- Paw balm can be a great option for many dogs. It creates a protective moisturizing layer between your pet’s sensitive paws and the harsh conditions. It can also be reapplied once you get home from adventuring to ensure they don’t sustain any damage.
- If your dog has longer fur or you are looking for a different option, booties can be very effective. When you are sizing your dog’s paws, make sure to consider the length from the back of the paw to the tip of the nail for comfort. If you are unsure, there are many pet stores that will be able to help you find the right fit.
Coats: Not all breeds are designed for winter outdoors. If your pup has a thin coat make sure to get them a doggy jacket to wear outside. This will help them retain body heat.
Water: With the cold temperatures, we can sometimes forget how important hydration is. Remember to pack some water for your dog as well so they can stay hydrated while adventuring.
Temperature: Keep in mind the temperature. If it’s too cold for us to want to be outside, our pets shouldn’t be out any longer than we are.
Grooming: Your dog should be groomed regularly during the winter months so that salt, chemicals, and other residue do not sit on their fur or skin. After a walk, make sure to thoroughly clean and dry your pets paws and underbelly.
Weather Conditions: If the weather is not permitting and you cannot see well due to snow, fog, or hazardous conditions, make sure to keep your dog leashed so that they do not get separated from you and lost. Always remember to have your dog’s ID collar on when you are outdoors.
Whatever the adventure, indoors or out, you and your pet can have a great time during the cold weather. There are many things to do in this frosty season; be safe and have some fun!
Written by: Harriet Burquist