Dog-friendly winter activities in Vancouver

Dog-friendly winter activities in Vancouver

Life is more fun when you have your furry friend by your side, and with so many dog-friendly activities around Vancouver this Winter, you’re bound to find one that suits you and your pup. Whether you have an energetic dog looking to blow off steam or a calm dog who likes to act as your sidekick on a day out in the town, Vancouver has many dog-friendly options for you this Winter. 

Take your dog on a walk

Family walking with dog

Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Bright Nights at Stanley Park is a festive favorite for the locals in Vancouver, and you can bring your dog along. This year, Bright Nights is celebrating its 25th anniversary, so starting December 1st you can go and see some fan favorites like the antique fire truck, giant red reindeer, and the sparkling tunnel of lights in the plaza. 

There will also be some great food vendors at the park serving some festive favorites like hot chocolate, pretzels, and churros. So bundle up and go enjoy some live entertainment while also making a worthwhile donation to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. 

Play in the snow at Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is a great place to let your dog frolic in the snow this Winter. With both on-leash and off-leash areas, the park has something for all dog owners. With big, open grass areas, your dog has all the space it needs to run, play fetch or even get some crucial dog training in. The park also has a picnic area so you can organize a dog owner's lunch while your furry friends play in the snow.

Go for a hike in the North Shore Mountains

There are some great dog-friendly hiking trails just off the North Shore in Vancouver. Due to weather conditions, some may be closed in Wintertime, but others remain open for you and your pooch to roam. There are an array of trails from flat and easy to moderate to strenuous, so there's something for everyone. There are both on-leash and off-leash trails all around the North Shore mountain to suit you and your pup.

Whyte Lake trail is a popular dog-friendly option, it is filled with moss and tall cedar trees and has a walkway around a portion of the lake. Seymour Peak is a great option, slightly harder but worth it for the incredible views at the top. In summer, you also have to watch out for the black bears en route to the peak! There is no better way to spend a day with your pooch than out exploring nature. 

Off-leash dog parks in Vancouver

Some dogs need more space to roam freely and independently on their own, and what better way to do this than visit a beautiful off-leash dog park in Vancouver. Some great off-leash parks in Vancouver worth visiting this Winter are Inter River Park, McDonald Beach Dog Park, Lighthouse Park, and many many more. Of course with off-leash dog parks comes important dog etiquette to maintain, like bringing poop bags and cleaning up after your dog, and making sure your dog is well-trained off-leash to keep other dogs and owners in the park safe and happy. 

Watch the Carol Ships Parade Of Lights from the waterfront

Every Christmas the waterways around downtown Vancouver are lit up by some incredible Christmas Lights, not just on land but on the water as well. This Winter, bring your dog along to check out the dozens of decorated Carol Ships with around 30,000 people on board at Coal Harbour. These boats are commercial cruises and private boats alike and are decorated with fantastic light displays, each with their own unique holiday theme.

The Carol Ship Parade of Lights is a festive favorite for the locals and tourists, which runs every Friday and Saturday during the month of December. You can enjoy this amazing show onboard one of the boats, but you'll have to book a ticket in advance, or just watch it for free from the shore. It’s a beautiful sight to behold by all ages (and canines) alike!

Visit the Vancouver Winter Farmers Market and buy them some festive treats

The Riley Park Winter Farmers Market starts on November 5th, and you can bring your pooch along. There are over 85 farmers each week at the markets selling some of Vancouver's best fresh produce, coffee, and baked goods. You can also pick up some great hampers filled with homemade jam, marmalades, and mulled wine, a perfect gift for someone special this Christmas. There are also buskers at the markets there to entertain while you're browsing, it’s the perfect dog-friendly activity this winter in Vancouver.

How to keep your dog safe in the snow?

dog walking in snow

There are a few things you can do this Winter to keep your dog safe and happy in the snow. Firstly, getting them a good winter coat is essential for going outside. This also depends on your dog. For example, if you have a husky with thick fur, a coat might not be necessary, but for smaller dogs with shorter, less fur, a coat is needed for the cold winter months. Also saving your trip to the groomer to be trimmed for springtime will help them stay warm.

Pets burn extra energy in the Winter months trying to stay warm, so feeding your dog a little extra at mealtime will provide them with much-needed calories to keep warm and healthy. Also making sure your dog drinks plenty of water will help keep their skin less dry.

Icy sidewalks covered in salt can be irritating to your dogs' paws, so bringing a towel on your walks to wipe their paws will help them from becoming irritated. Alternatively, you can get them cute dog socks that act as a protective shoe on their walks, however, some dogs find these hard to walk in so a towel may be your best option.

Drying your dog's paws and stomach to remove icicles, salt, and chemicals after walks is helpful. Also, checking for redness or cracked paw pads after walks is important. Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw-protecting products into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemicals.

Commonly asked questions about dog-friendly winter activities

What is one of the best dog parks in Vancouver in the wintertime?

One of the best dog parks in Vancouver in the wintertime is definitely Trout Lake Park. Located in East Vancouver, Trout Lake Park is a large and picturesque park that offers plenty of space for your pup to run around and play. The park has gravel pathways and a large open field where dogs can roam free off-leash.

Are dogs allowed on the Skytrain in Vancouver?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the Skytrain if they are in an appropriate carrier. Service dogs and guide dogs are also both allowed on the Skytrain. 

Is Capilano Bridge dog-friendly?

Yes, well-behaved dogs that are on a leash are permitted in the park and on the bridge, with the exception of the Raptors Ridge area, in the Cliff House Restaurant, or in the Trading Post gift store. 

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