Walks with your dog in Wintry Weather

This freezing, snowy, winter weather we are experiencing just now, sometimes makes it more difficult for you to walk your dog, yet regardless of the chilly conditions, you should try and maintain an exercise routine for your pet. If your pet doesn’t have regular exercise, he won’t be able to release his pent-up energy and this can result in bad habits such as chewing and hyperactive behaviour. He is also at risk of increase in weight gain and associated health risks.

Dog Walks in cold weather

Taking a shorter walk may be the answer in more severe weather, especially if there is a dramatic fall in temperature. Older dogs and small puppies should not be walked for long periods in freezing temperatures, whereas younger and livelier dogs will love nothing more than galloping around the field in the deep snow. It may be a winter wonderland, but you need to keep safe and consider any potential hazards to your own and your dog’s safety and health.

Ice and Snow

Icy footpaths and roads are a hazard for both you and your pet, bringing very slippery surfaces. If you walk with your dog on a lead, keep the leash short so you’re more in control. If you do let your dog off the lead for a run, ensure that you’re confident he will come to your recall, especially near to any frozen ponds and icy rivers. We hear each year of accidents where dogs have been lost when they fall through frozen lakes and ponds.

Check the weather before leaving home

Before you set off on your walk, check the forecast and if snow is coming, make your route shorter than usual. Leave the longer walks for dry, cooler days. If it begins to snow heavily, place your dog on the lead as he can soon become disorientated and always ensure that your pet is wearing a collar and a tag with current ID.  If your dog is too cold outside, he will stand and hold up one leg after another, or begin to shiver. If he’s happily running round in circles in the snow, and sniffing around, then he’s a happy dog enjoying his new snowy adventures.

Outdoor wear for your dog

When humans head outside in chilly weather, we bundle up in many extra layers, yet many dog owners think that as their pet has a thick fur coat, that they won’t feel a chill. Of course, different breeds of dogs are more tolerant to the freezing weather, but dogs that normally live inside will benefit from an extra layer of clothing.  There are many types of jumpers and coats available for pets, but look for one that’s fairly easy to put on your dog..  At Finchley Dog Walker we would recommend Equifleece coats and jumpers.

Their feet and pads need protection if walking on salted roads and pavements, and if they suffer from frostbite. Dog boots are available to buy, or at a minimum, coat their pads in paw wax to offer some protection. This goes for you too when out walking, wear suitable waterproof footwear with decent treads to avoid slips and falls, and gloves to keep your hands warm when holding the dog lead.

Returning home

A towel by the door will wipe off some of the excess snow when your dog enters the house, so try to wipe off as much snow from his fur and skin as possible. They need to be properly dry to prevent them catching a chill. Many motorists use antifreeze and de-icer at this time of the year, and your dog’s paws may become contaminated. It’s best to wash and rinse their paws when you return home, before they get a chance to lick them, to be one the safe side, as these chemicals are poisonous to dogs.

As a professional Dog Walker, the ice and snow is something that I have to contend with during the winter months. I will do my best to get to all of my customers to walk their dogs, but if it’s really hazardous, especially walking in the snow and on black ice, for not only mine, but also your dog’s safety, walks may be cut short. In this eventuality, I will introduce more garden play time into their routine, to ensure that they still get their daily exercise.

If you are at home due to snow days and don’t wish me to exercise your pet, please let me know.