Dog walking in winter – Tackling cold weather walks

Even when winter comes around and the cold weather moves in, it’s important that you keep dog walking high on your priority list. Not only does walking help to keep you both fit, it’s also important for promoting good mental health, especially when your dog is inside for most of the day. Dog walking in the cold can still be enjoyable and there are a number of things you can do to help with this. Here are our top tips for cold weather walks.

Beware of ice!

Just as humans can slip on ice, so can dogs! Look out for icy patches on the roads on cold mornings, especially if your dog walks off the lead. Discourage your dog from running in any areas that are likely to be icy in order to avoid the possibility of slipping over and causing injury to themselves. Remember that ice isn’t always visible! Keeping your dog’s claws well-trimmed can also help provide extra grip if you are walking over icy patches.

Dog walks in winter - A girl cuddles up with her Alaskan Malamute dog

Invest in a doggy-coat

A jumper or a coat can make cold weather dog walking more enjoyable for your canine companion. This is especially the case when it comes to puppies, small breeds or short-haired dogs who struggle to regulate their body heat when the temperature drops. Dog coats and jumpers are also useful if your dog suffers from arthritis, as the cold can make their joints more stiff than usual. It is a good idea to get one with high-visibility material to keep your dog safe if you tend to walk them in the dark.

Look after your dog’s paws

Just as cold weather can take its toll on our skin, it can also be damaging to your dog’s paws, causing them to become sore and cracked. Dog booties are a good way to protect their paws and keep their feet warm at the same time. If your dog doesn’t take well to these, you can put petroleum jelly on their pads before you go out for a walk to prevent them from drying out and cracking. Be sure to wipe this off after the walk so that your dog doesn’t lick it.

Beware of antifreeze poisoning

When the temperature drops, people begin to use antifreeze and de-icer on their cars which can be poisonous to animals if ingested. Take special care to ensure that your dog doesn’t drink from any puddles, especially in areas that are frequented by cars, as they may have traces of antifreeze in them.

There’s really no excuse to not go out dog walking throughout the year, even when the temperatures do drop. Maybe you could both try power walking your way to fitness? If you have any concerns about how the cold may be affecting your dog you shouldn’t hesitate to seek advice from your vet.

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