Activities For Dogs In Illinois On Cold Days

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Introduction

It can get pretty cold in Illinois during the winter months and spending more time than necessary outdoors is probably not at the top of your list. However, you can have a blast with your dog enjoying the cold weather and getting out in the fresh air instead of being cooped up all winter. If you have a dog that does not have a lot of hair or tends to get cold easily, you will want to invest in a warm coat for them. Warm boots may also be in order for you and your dog!

Snow Time

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Cold Day
Free
Easy
20 min
Items needed
Snow
Toys
Treats
Activity description

Playing in the snow is not just for children! Many dogs enjoy exploring the cold white stuff as well. Next time snow is in the forecast, plan to spend some time outside playing in the snow with your dog. Do not stay out in the cold weather for long periods of time, instead, play for about 20 minutes and then head indoors to warm up. You can play outside a few times throughout the day. Take some toys outside with you and play a few games of fetch or make a couple of snowballs and see if your dog can catch them before they hit the ground. 

Step
1
Dress warmly
It is easy to forget to protect yourself and your dog from the elements. When you are planning on spending time playing in the snow with your dog, dress warmly. Gloves, hat, scarf, and coat will protect you from frostbite. Your dog will also need protecting from frostbite if they are not accustomed to winter weather, as are the Nordic breeds or heavily coated breeds.
Step
2
Play games
Once you are bundled up and ready to face the cold, dig out some toys that your dog loves to play with and head outside. Be sure to keep your time outside short so you or your dog do not become too cold. Roll up a few snowballs and play snow catch with your dog, or start a game of hide and seek. Playing in the snow is a time to be silly and enjoy the time with your dog. A game of fetch would also be fun for both of you!
Step
3
Warm up often
While you may want to stay outdoors longer than is safe, keep your dog’s comfort in mind. They cannot tell you when they are too cold or in distress. Take breaks often so you can both warm up. Even in the cold your dog can become dehydrated, offer plenty of fresh water when you go inside to feel the heat.
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Christmas Parade

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Cold Day
Moderate
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Parade Entry
Costume
Collar/Leash
Treats
Activity description

Christmas is a time for parades and parties. It is also a time for the cold weather to descend with a fury. Christmastime in Illinois is much like the rest of the Midwest. It is cold and can be blustery. However, people come out in droves to attend Christmas parades and enjoy the merriment of the season. You can enjoy a local Christmas parade in a whole new way. Many parades offer a chance to be in the parade and your dog can join you, too! You can plan a costume for you and your dog that is warm and creative so you can be both toasty and festive. 

Step
1
Find a parade
It seems that every town, big or small, across the United States hosts a Christmas Parade. Take some time to research each parade in your area to find the one that will be the most dog-friendly. Most parades do have an entry fee and a theme. You may even want to gather a group of friends and their dogs to join in the fun.
Step
2
Create a costume
Once you have chosen a parade to enter; it is time to start planning your costumes. When planning costumes, be sure to keep with the theme of the parade. If you are walking during the parade, pick costumes that are easy to move in and that will not become cumbersome as you walk the parade route. Should you be lucky enough to ride on a float during the Christmas parade, you can choose costumes that may be a bit more extravagant since you will not be walking far.
Step
3
Have fun
Christmas parades are meant to be fun for everyone! Make sure you have plenty of treats for your dog to help them through any part of the parade they may not be thrilled with and also keep clean-up bags ready just in case of an accident! Pack an emergency kit just in case anything happens during the parade. It is better to be prepared in any situation.
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Brisk Walk

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Cold Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Treats
Dog Coat/Boots (Optional)
Activity description

 There is nothing that gets the blood pumping through your veins like a brisk walk through the neighborhood on a cold Illinois day. Your dog will enjoy the exercise and being with you and you will enjoy filling your lungs with fresh air. It is free and easy to take a brisk walk around the block. Remember to dress warmly and protect your dog against the cold if they are not a cold weather kind of dog, like the thick-coated breeds. Do not stay out in the cold for long periods of time to avoid any adverse side effects of being in the cold.

Step
1
Pack emergency kit
Even though you will only be going for a short walk, you will still want to pack a small emergency kit. Chap-stick for you and a collapsible water bowl for your dog might be essentials. Pack a bottle of water to share if you get thirsty during your walk. Heat packs would also be a good idea just in case the weather is colder than you thought and you need to warm your dog up quickly.
Step
2
Bundle up
Cold days in Illinois can be brutal. Before heading out for a brisk walk, bundle up in a warm coat, hat, gloves and a scarf to keep warm. Dogs that are not used to cold weather will probably need a warm coat and even booties to protect their feet from the cold ground. Dogs that are used to colder weather can stay out in the cold longer, but you will still want to make sure your health (and your dog's) does not suffer from prolonged exposure.
Step
3
Enjoy the cold
Even if you are not fond of cold weather, you should enjoy being able to get outside in the fresh air and spend quality time with your dog. Plan a few brisk walks each day during the cold weather so you both can stretch your legs and enjoy the fresh, crisp air. Plan your walk to be about 15 to 20 minutes long and then head back into the warmth of your home.
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More Fun Ideas...

Host A Playdate

It may be a little overwhelming to host a large playdate for your dog. But, you could have a few friends and their dogs come over for a few games and treats. If you happen to have a ball pit set up for your dog, it would be a lot of fun to watch all the dogs dive in and enjoy the activity.

Play In A Ball Pit

While most places that have ball pits do not allow dogs to come in out of the cold to play, you can create your own ball pit. Some dog clubs also host playdates and will even have ball pits for dogs to jump into and play. Ball pits are the perfect activity on cold days for dogs that love balls.

Conclusion

Whether you prefer to stay inside where it is toasty and dry or venture outdoors into the nippy, cold weather, there are plenty of activities your dog can enjoy. Winter lasts a long time and cold days in Illinois can stretch endlessly before you and your dog. Break up the monotony of winter by taking part in activities that will bring you and your dog closer and create fantastic memories for the whole family.