When the winter weather kicks in, we and our dogs like to snuggle inside where it is warm and cozy- However, it is still important that we ensure that our dogs remain active in those winter months! We have some tips below to help you and your dog ensure that you get the most out of those winter walks.
Benefits of Walking Your Dog in Winter
Walks will help with weight maintenance and decrease boredom as our friends get out to explore the sights and smells of the neighborhood! This works their brain and helps them to settle when we are back inside. Shy dogs, especially, will benefit from getting out to experience new and novel things and having a good experience while doing so. We can still get outside with our pets for walks, but there are a few things that we need to remember- like the temperature, age of our dog and their breed, and how it affects their time outside.
Helping Dogs Weather the Cold
When we take dogs out during the colder temperatures of winter, we need to keep in mind the temperature. As temperatures fall, we should be taking shorter walks, especially with older dogs, some smaller dogs, and short nosed breeds who may not be able to keep warm as well. Decreasing the exposure to the cold will help to ensure our dogs stay cozy, and we can also give them coats or jackets to help. We are lucky that there are a lot of options out there for us to help keep our dogs warm! Dogs who have very short fur will benefit from layering. A lightweight fleece shell is a great choice that can cover their belly and can fit under an additional windproof jacket. Dogs with thicker coats, such as Border collies or some Labradors, may only need an outer jacket when temperatures get colder.
Protecting Your Dog’s Feet
When our dogs go outside it is likely that the first part of them to get cold will be their paws! Booties are a great way to help give their feet a little extra protection. There are many types and varieties out there, but a fleece bootie helps to keep ice and snow off their paws and give them an edge up on those cold winter walks. When the weather gets wet and there is slush out when you are walking, opt for a boot that has a rubber sole and is waterproof to prevent your dog from having wet feet. Some dogs do take a while to get used to booties, so take it slow and try it inside. Try putting them on just the back paws first and do a play session inside to take their mind off of them. Paw wax is another option that gives an extra barrier between your dog’s pads and the elements. You take a small amount and rub it into your dog’s feet and it prevents ice melt and snow from sticking to their paws- and keeps them safe from ice melt that you may run into!
Winter Safety for Dogs
When we are going out in the winter, there are some safety items for us to consider as well! There are cleats that we can put on the bottom of our shoes to help us gain traction on icy sidewalks and keep up with our four-legged friends. Since there is less daylight in the winter, be sure to have reflective or light up gear on you and your dog to be visible to traffic, and to wear bright colors to try and remain visible.
We hope you use these tips to stay warm and keep active during these winter months- and summer will be right around the corner!
Explorers: Start with short walks or time outside wearing a vest or jacket. Movement and play will help your pup have more fun! Keep your time outside short. You build your dog’s desire to be outside by stopping while they are still having fun instead of when they are already cold or bored.
Growers: Work with your pup to enjoy wearing booties. Start slow and start on their back feet. Pair their booties with lots of good treats and fun. Again, movement and play will help them forget about being worried or feeling odd.
Challengers: Put it all together! Enjoy some adventures together in the snow and cold. Be smart about how long to be outside and what activities you do, but get out there and enjoy the unique beauty that winter gives us!