The winter months can be long and brutal, with dark nights, high winds, ice and snow. However, this does not mean you should lapse on your dog walking routine.
Regular exercise for your four legged friend is essential to keeping them healthy and fit!
In order to make dog walking in the winter a more pleasurable experience, it is worth taking some time to make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing for the season. As a professional dog walker and also a scout leader I have found some great ways to keep warm.
Start from the bottom
First things first, let’s look at the feet. The ground will be wetter in winter, with potential for ice and snow, so investing in a pair of quality waterproof walking or hiking boots is going to keep your feet dry and warm. Team these with thermal walking socks or simply double up on normal socks and you have a winning combination for winter walking. NB. Test how the thicker socks feel first to avoid any blisters or discomfort.
Several thin layers are much better than one thick layer. Keeping warm in winter is all about layering up, but you need to make sure you are layering with the right types of fabrics. Your base layer direct any sweat away from your skin, keeping you nice and dry, so long thermal underwear made from fabrics such as silk .Thinsulate or polypropylene are ideal.
The next layer should be about insulation to keep the heat in. Great insulators are wool, polyester fleece, pile or down. A decent fleece will keep you warm even if it does get wet and Equafleece make water repellent fleeces for you and your dog.
The top layer needs to be a waterproof and windproof coat. When choosing one make sure it isn’t too heavy or cumbersome so that you will not feel restricted on your walks.
Protecting your hands
Another essential accessory for your winter walking expeditions is a pair of insulated gloves. Particularly if you are walking your dog on a leash as exposure to the elements can result in chapped and sore skin. Invest in a pair of fleece lined gloves, which still give you the flexibility to use the lead and poop-a-scoop too.
Last but not least do not forget to wear a hat as you lose a large proportion of heat through your head. Fleeced lined hats are the perfect insulator and reduce itchiness too.
Remember your winter dog walking accessories
Because winter walks involve biting winds your lips need protection so use Chapstick or lip balm and apply frequently to avoid wind damage.
Sunglasses can be worn if walking in windy conditions or snow. The glasses will shield against the wind and when it has snowed the sunglasses will protect your eyes against getting sunburned (yes, it is possible and common for people to get sunburned from the reflection from snow).
Bring a warm drink for both you and your dog
When taking a winter walk why not take a hot drink with you in a thermos flask.