As we embark on a new year, we ascend further into winter and that equates to colder weather. So, what does that mean for our daily winter walks with our dogs? Often times, pet parents are not so keen on venturing out into the cold and even some dogs will dig their heels in the carpet and head for the nearest sofa when they hear “Wanna go for a winter walks?”.
While we understand, those walks are important 365 days of the year. A change of weather always means a change in routines and the way we do things. It doesn’t have to be so bad – after all, variety IS the spice of life, isn’t it? Well, there are a few things you should know to help you and your dog navigate through and maybe even enjoy your brisk winter walks!
1. Be seen. Most of us working class folks leave for work before the sun is up and often don’t return home until after the sun has gone down. This means that you will be walking your dog in the dark, which makes it hard for people to see you and your dog. Choose reflective collars and other gear to avoid going unseen on the road. There are even some leashes and collars that have built-in LED lights. Take a look at some of these.
2. Stay warm. While your dog’s fur does act as an insulator, it’s no match for the extreme temperatures of winter. Additionally, once a dog’s fur gets wet, all bets are off! Wet fur equals a complete lack of insulation. Your dog’s toes, ears and nose are even more susceptible to frost bite than the rest of his body. Small and large dogs alike will benefit from a sweater or coat as well as dogs with compromised immune systems and other health issues. This will aid in the retention of body heat but never send your dressed dog out in the yard without supervision as that may lead to some very serious and even deadly situations! Check out these options from the Dog Outdoors.
3. Protect the paws. As I mentioned above, your dog’s paws are very susceptible to winter elements. Freezing snow can quickly accumulate on your dog’s paws. Cracked pads on your dog’s paws may result and trust me – that’s painful and completely unavoidable. Plus, with salt and antifreeze all over, it’s best to keep your dog’s paws covered up. Always choose boots mad of rugged sole and water resistant material. Check out these state of the art boots from Neo-Paws.
As you walk your dog this winter, pay close attention to his tolerance for the colder temperatures. Just like us humans, dogs have different levels of tolerance for winter weather. Quick, brisk walks are the best but always follow your intuition and follow the guidance of your pet service professionals. Finally, when leaving your dog out in the yard, always keep this simple rule in mind: If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets!