when out winter dog walking
As the weather gets colder and nights get darker, we sometimes don’t feel like dog walking.
However, as a dog owner, as well as offering a safe and warm home with a comfortable bed, A diet that is suitable for your dog and providing them with both mental and physical exercise no matter what the weather. . Walking can affect your mood.
As a scout, I was always told, “No such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”. This is very true. Invest a few pounds in decent walking wear, and you will be glad in winter.
Being a scout leader has given me good experience to ensure I am warm and dry whilst out dog walking, and over the years have tried various clothing.
Keeping your feet nice and toastie
Come winter, the ground will be wetter and possibly even snowy/frosty underfoot. As a result, it is worth investing in a good pair of hiking boots.
If you have new boots, then I suggest wearing them around the house for a few days. This will help break the boots in before you go for long walks.
My personal preference is a thin pair of socks with wool hiking socks over the top. However, a decent pair of thermal socks will also work,
Whilst we do not feel the cold quite as much, it is still essential to layer up the lower half of the body. I have always recommended to my scouts on winter camp three layers on the lower half and four layers on top.
We start with a “base layer” such as baselayer ‘tights’ or longjohns. Ideally, these should be close-fitting so they can trap a layer of air next to your skin. They should also allow wicking.
The next layer will be your walking trousers. Lastly, if the weather is windy or inclement, a set of waterproof trousers will make a big difference.
Winter Dog Walking Gear to ensure your core is warm.
Like the lower half of your body, layering up is recommended. By layering up, you can adjust your clothing much easier. As it gets cold, just ass a layer
One of the key things about keeping warm in winter is to ensure you have the right type of material for the correct layer.
Base layers should be able to wick away the sweat from your body to ensure your skin stays nice and dry.
Thermals are best if they are made out of silk or Thinsulate.
This is the layer that you put on next over the base layer, (You can also wear an optional t-shirt/shirt. Ideally, this layer should be something like a wollen jumper or a fleece. The great thing about quality fleeces is that they keep you warm even if they get wet, they’ll still keep you warm
Another great thing about fleece is that on warmer days, you can wear this as your outer later.
Finally, the last layer should be a reasonably windproof and waterproof coat. This should not be too restrictive, so you can still bend over to take leads on and off and pick up poo etc.
The ideal material for your outer garment is Gortex as these coats are generally light and breathable, so you don’t get wet from sweating.
Protecting your hands.
The winter can bring chapped and sore hands, especially when waking dogs on a lead.
Investing in some fleece-lined gloves will help keep your hands warm and protected from the wind but still allow you to use the lead and pick up poop.
The final part of the body is your head. Although we do lose heat through our head, it is not as much as what many people think it is. In reality, it is only about 10%
However, it is still a good idea to wear a nice warm fleece-lined or Thinsulate hat.
Winter walking accessories.
Winter walks can play havoc on the lips due to the wind. To help stop your lips from chapping regularly, apply lip balm or even vaseline.
In winter, the sun can still be blinding especially as it is low in the sky. A pair of sunglasses are still useful
Another use for sunglasses is to keep the wind and grit out of your eyes on windy days.
Even before COVID-19, it is a good idea to carry a small hand gel with you .to prevent the spreading of germs etc.
You may also be interested in our article on caring for your dog in winter
Some dogs feel the cold
It is also important to remember that some dogs, when out winter dog walking, will feel the cold, especially small dogs, thin-skinned dogs such as greyhounds and whippets etc. These types of dogs can benefit from a winter coat
It is also important to remember that the rock salt they put down on the roads when it snows or the roads are icy can cause and grit can all cause problems for a dog’s feet. Using a good barrier cream designed for dogs or even just petroleum jelly can help reduce the problem.
Take care when winter dog walking.
The cold weather along with icy roads and pavements can also be an issue. Extra care and attention should be taken to ensure proper care for your dog in winter.
As well as cold, you need to remember that the shortest day only has around 7 hours 49 minutes of sunlight, so there is a very good chance you will be walking in the dark. Our article on night walking is worth reading as well as investing in LED gear for both you and the dog. After all, be seen at nightwear something bright.
Whilst you want to be giving your dog quality time and do not want to have your nose buried in a phone scrolling Facebook, Twitter etc, it’s essential to have a mobile phone with you in case of emergencies.
Finally, you don want your dog pulling you as this could lead to slips and falls. Make sure you are using a good quality lead and harness and look into getting some training.
Our First Aid article may also be of interest