Taking your dog for a walk is a fantastic way to get some exercise and fresh air, but it’s critical to keep them safe throughout the winter months. We’re located in Canada, so it can get to be pretty cold here (while it varies by region, we’re talking -15° C). One of the biggest concerns for dog owners during this time is keeping their furry friends safe from frostbite. So, what can you do to make sure your walks are as safe and healthy as possible for both you and your pet? Here are some suggestions to guarantee that your dog is happy and safe during winter walks:
1. Keep walks short and sweet. If it’s cold outside, keep your walks short and sweet. There’s no need to tire out your dog (and yourself) by walking for too long in the cold. A 5 to 10-minute walk is plenty, even in the coldest weather. But some dogs just LOVE playing in the cold and being in the snow. This means it can be impossible to get your dog to come inside, so just be mindful of what your dog can handle. They’re all different and that’s why we love them!
2. Dress your dog appropriately. Just like you need to dress warmly during winter, so does your dog. Make sure they have a coat or jacket to keep them warm. If there is ice, snow or other slippery surfaces make sure to take small steps and keep an eye on your dog. You can also buy boots for your dog’s paws to keep them from getting too cold or wet. We also have a wonderful collection of Peruvian blankets that are warm and cozy that you and your furry rascals can bundle up in!
And this is incredibly important… Be sure to watch for signs of hypothermia. Like humans, dogs can suffer from hypothermia in extreme cold conditions. Symptoms include shivering, lethargy, poor coordination, and low body temperature. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog inside and consult with your veterinarian.
3. Consider paw protection. Dogs’ paws can be susceptible to frostbite and other cold-related injuries, so make sure you are checking them regularly for any signs of trouble. Even if your dog doesn’t like the cold, many of them will still go out and explore their surroundings regardless. Sometimes they even like to walk around in it. Boots, as previously said, help keep your dog’s paws warm and safe. We can’t emphasize enough how important boots are for dogs… and they’re also ADORABLE!
4. Keep them hydrated. Dogs can get just as dehydrated in winter as they can in summer, so make sure you are providing them with plenty of fresh water. If your dog seems cold, you can give them a warm drink to help them stay warm. This can be anything from chicken broth to warm water with honey. But do not let them drink from puddles! Puddles can have toxic chemicals in them (de-icer, anti-freeze) and this can be fatal to your dog.
5. Don’t over-exercise them. While they still need their exercise in winter months, don’t push them too hard. Even though they may enjoy getting outside and running in the snow and cold weather, the risk of injury is present. Like humans, dogs can get overexerted in the cold and wind. This also makes them more prone to developing health problems like muscle tears, joint pain, and even pneumonia.
6. And lastly… stay safe! Make sure you are keeping YOURSELF warm and bundled up!
Phew! That was a long walk through some very important tips to keep in mind. So, bundle up and start walking! And be sure to remember that your pup might need to be kept warm when you’re indoors and not on a walk, too. A heated pet bed or a blanket might just be the perfect thing to come home to.