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If it gets snowy where you live…this blog’s definitely for you!
Whether you’re a new dog walker or a seasoned pro, read on to remind yourself of the best practices for winter walks, especially as the winter darkness creeps around much earlier at this time of year. These 7 tips will help you and your dog stay safe and healthy, no matter the weather!
🧊 De-ice safely
Dogs can slip on icy stairs just like we can, so make sure you shovel and remove ice from your walkways before you head out on a walk.
And if you use de-icing products on your property, look for something marked as dog safe. Regular de-icing salt can burn your dog’s paws. If you live in a city that de-ices its roads and sidewalks, consider putting booties on your dog in the winter to prevent sore paws.
🧥 Dress for warmth
When it comes to dressing for cold weather, layers are important. That goes for you and your dog! Sure, your pup has a fur coat but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to get bundled up.
Look for a coat that fits your dog’s weight and length, and makes sense for your weather. For example, if you live somewhere with wet winters, you might want something waterproof. It’s easy to take a coat off if you head out and find your dog doesn’t need it, but better to be prepared if they do!
💡 Plan to be visible
There are fewer hours of daylight in the winter months, and the sun sets earlier and rises later. This means you might be walking your dog in the dark, so it’s important to plan accordingly.
Dress you and your dog to be visible, with bright colours and reflective clothing. Consider using a small light, like a headlamp or a light you can attach to your bag or leash. Try to take routes with less traffic, and avoid walking at dusk and dawn when visibility is the worst.
🐾 Protect those paws
In addition to protecting your dog’s paws from de-icing salts (see above), booties can help your dog stay warm and prevent frostbite. If your dog hates wearing something on their paws, try paw wax instead.
🚰 Bring along water
Hydration is important in cold and hot temperatures. Winter weather can be very dry, and people and dogs both can lose water through sweat when wearing warm clothing or exercising in the snow.
Give your dog (and you!) a big drink of water before and after walks, and bring a bottle along if you’ll be outside for an active day in the snow. Don’t rely on letting your dog eat snow to stay hydrated – it can contain bacteria or harmful chemicals, and it lowers your dog’s core body temperature.
💩 Pick up your poop
It can be tempting to let the snow hide your dog’s waste during walks, but don’t do it! Poop doesn’t simply dissolve away in the snow, or melt when winter ends. It can even become a public-health concern in the spring, attracting rodents.
Pick up your dog’s waste year round, and keep an eye out for other pet parents who haven’t done the same. A hidden poo pile your dog uncovers in the snow can be messy, at best, or make them sick, at worst.
🌡️ Warm up quickly
Keep a fluffy towel by the door so you can use it on your dog as soon as you get in from a chilly walk. This does triple duty:
- Dries them off, if they got wet from snow, rain, or sleet.
- Wipes any de-icing salt off their paws and fur.
- Warms them up!
Different dogs are built better for different weather! Dogs like Akitas, Bernese mountain dogs, and Newfoundland dogs are built for chilly temperatures. But breeds like Dachshunds, Greyhounds, and French bulldogs will need some extra help to stay warm in winter.
Dog coats have a lot of variation in thickness and warmth, and not every breed is well suited to the cold. Do some research on your dog’s breed to learn more about keeping your pup safe and warm this winter.
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay curious #healthygang!
Lots of love,
- The healthybud team
DISCLAIMER: The information presented here is not meant to replace your vet’s advice or prescribed medications, but only to suggest additional options to explore, based on your dog’s condition.
Support your best bud’s health with high quality, healthy foods and treats you will both feel great about. Visit the healthybud website now to learn more about our products and subscription options.