Why would you enjoy winter alone when you can bring your dog along? If you plan to brave the cold, why not consider walking your dog in the snow? It is one of the best ways to stay active in winter. However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. While some dogs have thick furs to help them tackle the freezing temperature, like humans, some breeds can get uncomfortable.
Want to try walking the dog in the snow? Read on and learn from the tips we’ll share!
Know Your Dog
This is the first and most important thing that you need to know before bringing your beloved pet in the snow. As a responsible owner, you need to know your dog by heart. Research about the breed and the chances that it will be able to tackle the snow.
Understand the cold weather tolerance of your dog. The easiest way to do this is to evaluate the fur. Those with thicker coats will be able to tolerate the snow more. Nonetheless, even with thick fur, they can still suffer from hypothermia and become extremely cold when they are walking in the snow, so keep an eye!
The age of the dog will also have a direct impact on its ability to handle the freezing temperature. Those that are too young or too old may find the situation more challenging unless they are perfectly healthy. To add, their lifestyle is also important. Those who are more active have higher chances of loving walking in snow than those who are mostly sedentary.
Most breeds will be able to tolerate walking in a temperature that is at least 15 degrees. However, if the temperature reaches 10 degrees, this is the point where they become cold. Even for most humans, this can already be chilling and a time when you will be looking for a fleece jacket to wear.
Before you think about how your pet will feel when walking a dog in the snow, you need to think about yourself first. Make sure that you stay warm and comfortable. This way, you will be able to take care of your dog and both of you can enjoy the walk. Otherwise, you will be in a rush to go back because you are chilly.
Dress appropriately. For the base layer, it is best to have leggings and a long-sleeved shirt. You will also need a winter jacket, winter boots, and winter gloves to keep you warm.
It is also a good idea to bring a waterproof backpack, which makes it easy to have easy access to everything that you and your dog will need while walking in the snow.
Keep Your Dog Warm
Now that you know how to dress, if you want to enjoy walking your dog in the snow, it is crucial to make sure that you dress your pet for the weather. Learn how to keep your dog warm.
A vest or jacket is one of the must-haves. It provides insulation that dogs need to walk for an extended period. It should also repel moisture and keep it dry. Otherwise, it will only result in discomfort.
Dog booties are also essential. Their paws are vulnerable to damage when it is extremely cold. It is more than just a fashion statement! Their paws can crack because of the temperature. They can also get in contact with chemicals as they walk and lick it off their paws.
Use a Leash
Use a leash when walking your dog in the snow. Most owners will agree that winter is a common time to lose their dogs. It is more difficult to find them when it is cold. A dog leash helps to spare yourself from this predicament. It is better to use a solid leash instead of one that is retractable as it will provide you better control of your dog.
Another good thing about using a leash is to keep your dog nearby. If they do not have a leash, they can run and fool around. They might find themselves in a semi-frozen body of water and can be dangerous. There is a possibility that thin ice will break because of the weight of your dog. Even if they have a dog life jacket, they can be in danger because their body might be unable to handle the extreme cold.
Worried that you will lose your dog? A leash will not be enough. It is also a good idea to put an identification card that contains your contact details. In case your dog gets lost, whoever finds your pet can easily return it to you. A microchip is also a good idea to make it easier to locate your dog.
Watch Out Where You Are Walking
When you are walking with a dog in the snow, it is also crucial that you pay attention to your path. By being attentive to where you are walking, it is easier to prevent dogs from getting in contact with chemicals that can harm them in one way or another.
One of the things that you should be keeping an eye on would be rock salt. While this isn’t toxic, this can upset your dog’s stomach upon ingestion.
Keep your dog out of anti-freeze. This is a common chemical in the driveway. It is sweet and tempting for dogs. However, it is extremely dangerous. It can cause abrasions and will make their paws crack. The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that they wear boots all the time.
Pick Dog Waste
One of the most common misconceptions when walking the dog in the snow is that their waste dissolves. This is not the case! The cold weather slows down the process of degradation of dog waste. More than being gross, this can also be a breeding ground of bacteria that can easily spread.
Do not just bring a portable snow shovel to dig a hole and bury your pet’s waste. Bring a litter bag where you can keep the waste until you are ready to throw it somewhere.
Look for Signs
Like when you are kayaking with your dog or enjoying any other physical activity with your pet, you need to keep a watchful eye. Pay attention to any sign of discomfort or any indication that the dog is already feeling sick because of the cold.
One of the first parts that you need to check is their paw. Look for discoloration, inflammation, and cracks, among other damages. If there’s any, stop walking immediately and bring your pet to a safe place. Watch out as well for broken nails.
When a walking dog in the snow and your pet suddenly becomes limp, this is another sign that there is possibly something wrong and you need to act as soon as possible.
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Walking your dog in the snow is not as easy as getting out of your house and enjoying the cold. They can get extremely unformattable and sick. To prevent this from happening, make sure that they are fit. See to it as well that they are dress appropriately to stay warm during the walk. Watch out for signs of discomfort and sickness.
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