Activities For Dogs In Ohio On Cold Days

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Introduction

While The Buckeye State is well-known for its relatively temperate weather throughout the year, its winters are much like the rest of the Midwest: often cold and bleak. Snowfall, high winds and frigid temperatures do their best to keep Ohio in an annual state of hibernation from late November to early March, keeping residents and their dogs wondering how to stay warm and wily through the coldest of days. Fortunately, we're here to share our know-how with you and your bow-wow so the two of you don't get stuck like a car in a snow drift trying to figure out how to spend your winter days (and nights for that matter).

Get in the Spirit

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Cold Day
Cheap
Easy
30 - 180 min
Items needed
Leash
Dog Bags
Warm (possibly festive) clothes
Crafting materials
Activity description
When it comes to cold weather and the holidays, few are celebrated as long and strong as that of Christmas. But regardless of what you celebrate, if gift-giving, celebrating, having fun and staying warm are high on your priority list, we've got some activities carved out for you. Best of all, they're all easy, inexpensive, provide a few hours of entertainment and are best celebrated when it gets cold. Most of them will keep you indoors, but that doesn't mean stuck in the house, as there will be plenty of opportunities to get out on the town in the process as well.
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1
Holiday DIY
When it comes to the holiday season, one of the best and most rewarding things you can do is bestow a meaningful gift to someone you care about. And what better way to show them than with something handmade! While getting into the nitty gritty of creating something will depend on your and their taste, consider making something for the dog lovers in your life, whether that means friends, family, or significant others (and gifts of your dogs or theirs - you can always offer to dogsit if you need an extra paw and it's a great excuse for playtime anyway). Our best suggestions would be making a paw-print tree ornament or art print, homemade dog treats (especially since you probably have a very willing taste tester), a rope toy, treat dispenser, or even a sweater, almost all of which your dog can help with in some form or another.
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2
Shopping trip
So maybe you're not the world's most creative or crafty person. That's OK! Once you've finished putting your failed project online to laugh about later, you can always grab your pooch and do some holiday shopping instead. It might still take a little creativity to find something useful and meaningful for your gift recipient, but at least you won't have to make any more messes. Consider making a stop list of dog-friendly stores where you can shop for others. You'd be surprised how many there truly are. Many clothing chains like Macy's and Gap, outdoors shops like Bass Pro Shops and even home improvement stores like Lowe's are all dog-friendly (just make sure to call and double check per location). For the real dog lovers, however, don't forget to check out your local doggy boutiques. Most are curated by dog lovers themselves, many of which take pride in having the latest and greatest toys, treats, accessories and food. Moochie & Co. in Akron is a top choice for that exact reason.
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3
Fest with the rest
Outside of gift giving, celebrating is easily one of the most fun ways to spend the holidays. Since many places roll out the decorations and cheer before Thanksgiving, there's no reason not to enjoy the season as long as you can. Many non-profits hold dog-friendly celebrations for canines and their owners, such as photos with Santa (Santa Paws in Wickliffe), Christmas or holiday themed events with festive dress-ups, games, and other activities. Search your local listings and check with nearby animal shelters and adoption centers to see if they know of any festive activities going on during the holiday season. With any luck, you'll find some holiday fun and help benefit those in need in the process.
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Fall Fun

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Cold Day
Cheap
Easy
45 - 180 min
Items needed
Leash
Dog Bags
Costumes
Activity description
Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa aren't the only major holidays that happen during cold weather. Before the final chill sets in, folks will already be celebrating autumn (or what's soon to be the end of it) and there are numerous ways to go about it. Many towns have Octoberfests as well as Halloween-themed events that provide more than enough chances to have some fun before chilly turns to frozen. Most of them are quite cheap, easy to do with your dog, and provide numerous occasions and several hours of things to do. Best of all, some of them even provide the perfect excuse to dress up as an adult.
Step
1
Barktoberfests
Regardless of how they get lumped together, there's usually at least some overlap between Octoberfest (or Barktoberfest as it were) and Halloween but since they're both fall-themed and fun, who cares? Both regularly supply an opportunity to don a costume, play some games and have some great food and drinks. And there are almost always plenty to choose from. For instance, there's Barktoberfest in Sylvania, which features a beer garden, costume contest, and dog-friendly vendors along with the added benefit of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. There's also the METROMUTTS Hike in Youngstown, which includes all of the above plus a hike and the potential for free pumpkins (with proceeds going to Falcon Animal Rescue) as well as all their other seasonally-themed dog-friendly events.
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2
Regal Beagle
While you may not see it regularly advertised, there has been a change in the wind in a few more refined locations, making them much more dog-friendly than they used to be. Believe it or not, wineries and vineyards alike are now not only becoming more canine cooperative, but are actually hosting dog-centric events to boot. Debonne Vineyard in Madison has Woof Wednesdays (though they may be weather dependent) and Matus Winery even lets dogs inside the tasting room. Plenty of others have safe, raised fireplaces you and your dog can huddle around while you sample human treats and your dog tastes a few of their own, as well as dog-themed nights to play games and sip wine.
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3
Patio pups
Although most people prefer to enjoy patio seating in the warmth of summer, Ohio is no stranger to cold weather, and many restaurant and brewery patios are heated either by overhead heaters or raised firepits, many of which are strong enough to keep the late autumn and winter chills away and dog-friendly to boot. There are tons of resources on where to find dog-friendly spots to check out, but you may have to make some calls and do some cross referencing to find out which places have the best (and warmest options).
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Indoor Bark Parks

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Cold Day
Moderate
Normal
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Dog Bags
Vaccination Records
Activity description
Let's be real, when it gets too cold, sometimes it's just miserable to be outside, which rules out any chance of having a comfortable walk, hike, run or romp in the dog park. But like many other states that have to shoulder cold weather for nearly a third of the year, Ohio has taken similar measures in providing great all-weather indoor dog parks that also offer some other services as well. It does require jumping through a few legal hoops in terms of paperwork, but once you're done, the process is smooth and easy for each subsequent visit. It's usually not cheap but rarely expensive, is relatively easy, and will provide hours of fun and socializing for you and your dog, even when the weather gets too ruff!
Step
1
Preparations
The first thing you'll need to do is find a proper indoor dog park nearby. It's tough to avoid the bitter cold or inclement weather when you have to drive a long distance to get to one! There are several that we know of, but there are likely more outside of our top-down scope. Tail Wags Playground in Columbus is a great option in the heart of the state, while Sit, Stay, N' Play is closer to those in the west. Do a search in your local area and call around if need be. Sometimes even the best spots don't have websites up and running or advertising yet, so check in with local pet shops or friends with dogs to see what might be the best option.
Step
2
Paperwork
Regardless of where you choose, you'll need to get your dog's paperwork in order. You may need to call your vet, scan or email documents to your potential spot, as they'll want these records before you sign anything and bring your dog in. Once they have your info, they'll likely want you to read and sign waivers as well, which you may have to do on-site or possibly online. Once they've given you approval and any necessary fees have been paid, you should be all set for your first visit!
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Play and socialize
Now that you're all set on paper, it's time to hit the ground running, literally! Bring your dog in and enjoy the heat-maintained indoor space. It's probably a good idea to call ahead and see if there are toys available at the facility or if you are allowed to bring your own so you'll have things to do besides sit and watch once you arrive. When the weather gets bad enough, there are usually plenty of dogs there for you and your pooch to interact with, especially if the facility also doubles as a doggy daycare. If you're in need of any services, you can always inquire. Most indoor dog parks are part of a larger business that sometimes offers training, grooming, boarding, and more, so don't forget to explore your options. More than anything else though, have fun staying warm!
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More Fun Ideas...

Snow Romps

If it's just snowy but tolerable, you can always take your dog outside for a romp in the snow. Many dogs love having new surrounds and a new medium to play in, so play snowball fetch or try out some easy-going dog-sledding while you can!

Training

When there's nothing to do outside or the weather is just too bad, consider using your indoor time wisely. Sign your dog up for training and classes so you can spend good time together learning to behave better.

Conclusion

While Ohio may not be the easiest place to spend winters, it's surely not the most boring either. Between holiday events and celebrations, vineyards, patios, indoor dog parks and outside adventures, you should have more than enough ways to keep yourselves entertained this winter. If nothing else, hopefully our activity guide helped inspire you to discover some fun of your own!