As you know, walking is good for you and your dog. And in most cases, when the weather is nice, taking your four-legged friend for a walk is fun. In fact, you don’t even have to make any special arrangements before you leave. But winter hikes are a different story. This season is associated with a wide range of risks for you and your pet. Therefore, it is recommended to take certain precautions to ensure that both are safe and happy.
Here are some winter tips for dog owners:
- Wear winter clothes for dogs. Most breeds do not support frost; therefore, when it gets colder outside, they need some additional insulation. It may seem that all these funny dog coats look strange, but in winter, warm dog clothes are a must. They will protect your pet from snow, wind and frost and allow him to enjoy playing outside for a long period of time. Therefore, buy a nice knitted coat or hood for dogs and always put it on your pet before taking him for a walk.
- Make sure you have several jackets or blouses as a backup. When there is a lot of mud or snow on the ground, dog clothes quickly become wet and dirty. Since your pet should walk more than once a day, you are likely to need several pieces of clothing for it.
- Buy a waterproof coat for dogs. This is a perfect option for walking in rainy or snowy weather. When it’s cold outside, wet clothes are likely to make your pet even colder and this can lead to hypothermia and associated health problems.
- Protect your dog’s paws. In winter, they are exposed to snow, ice, antifreeze and other potentially dangerous chemicals. The most obvious solution is to use all-weather boots for dogs, but there is a risk that your four-legged friend may not like this idea. So if you are unable to get him to wear special dog boots, try using wax protector. These products protect vulnerable skin from heat, cold and chemicals, as well as moisturize and soften it. In addition, they do not contain toxic or dangerous components in case a pet tries to lick its paws. Of course, it is highly recommended to carefully wash and clean your dog’s paws after each walk.
- Don’t let your pet eat snow. Remember that it can contain salt and chemicals. In addition, there may be small garbage and there is a risk that your dog will accidentally swallow something dangerous. In addition, eating cold snow can result in health problems. To prevent the animal from getting hungry or thirsty during a long walk, make sure he has a meal before leaving the house and drink some fresh water and some crispy dog snacks or biscuits.
- Keep your dog on the sidewalks and paths. Don’t let your four-legged friend play in the snowdrift, as there may be some hard buildings and other dangerous objects hidden under them.
- Don’t let your dog get loose. To ensure your safety, use a short leash. If you have a large pet and do not feel safe when on cold surfaces, buy a dog harness without pulling.
- Plan your route carefully. In winter, it is preferable to walk close to your home. Make sure you can come back quickly if your pet gets cold.
- Monitor your dog’s condition while walking. Most dogs will warn you if you feel uncomfortable, for example, shaking or whining. Still, some puppies can be so involved in playing that they may not realize they are cold. If you see that your four-legged friend’s skin is pale, hard, or red, take him somewhere warm.
- He prefers to walk during the day. Remember that drivers may miss seeing you in fog and snow, especially at night. To feel safe, buy dog vests with light-reflecting elements. By the way, wearing clothes with reflective details is also a good idea.