dog making splashes of snow. Jack Russell Terrier playing on sunSnow? Ice? Freezing temps? …No problem!

Here in Michigan we’re used to winter (though blizzards may be a challenge), and we know that it’s no excuse not to give our pets the daily exercise and mental stimulation they need. Your friends at OVRS want you and your pet to enjoy everything winter in Michigan has to offer. We’ve compiled a list of popular winter pet activities for you and your pet. Whether you’re the outdoorsy type or prefer to avoid the elements, there’s something for everyone!

Outdoor Activities

There’s something invigorating about exercising outdoors in the winter. Try these activities to get your pet’s, and your, blood pumping this season:

  • Fetch – Who says you can’t play fetch in the winter? The mechanics are the same regardless of the weather: throw ball, dog runs after ball, dog (hopefully) returns ball to you. Repeat.
  • Skijorking – Skijorking is a combination of cross-country skiing and dog sledding. If you love outdoor winter activities and have a healthy, energetic dog who is at least 35lbs., this high energy sport may be right up your alley.
  • Snowshoeing – There’s nothing like enjoying the breathtaking Michigan scenery while floating over the snow on a pair of snowshoes. As of yet, snowshoes for dogs aren’t available, so make your outings shorter than usual at first to avoid overtiring your dog, who, unlike you, will be trudging through the snow.

Remember to follow all cold weather safety precautions before heading out of doors!

Indoor Activities

  1. Agility – Fulfill your dog’s natural hunting and chasing instincts while strengthening the bond between the two of you with indoor agility training. There are a variety of agility courses and training classes in Eastern Michigan and the Detroit metro area to choose from. You can even set up your own agility course in the garage or basement.
  2. Hide and seek – Chances are your pet will enjoy a game of good ol’ fashioned hide and seek. Simply hide a favorite toy or piece of kibble in a relatively easy location, and encourage him or her to “find it”.  
  3. Doga – Yoga for dogs, or “doga” is gaining in popularity among yoga loving dog owners. Doga practitioners bond with their pets while encouraging their natural stretching postures.
  4. Brain games – Dogs and cats thrive on mental stimulation. There is a wide variety of food and treat puzzle games on the market sure to challenge your prodigy regardless of age or size.
  5. Self-powered pet wheel – If you want to walk your pet without leaving the house, consider one of the self-powered pet wheels. Help your dog or cat burn energy (and calories) without braving the cold.

Get Outta Town

A little travel is good for the soul, especially in the dead of winter. The lovely towns of Holland and Traverse City are only a few hours away and boast many pet-friendly accommodations as well as delightful downtown areas (with heated sidewalks in Holland!). Before you hit the road, be sure to review our guidelines for safe car travel with your pets.

Regardless of the activities you choose for your pet, we hope you both have fun. And remember, spring is just around the corner! Well…sort of!