We love walkies. Such a fun activity to share with our fellow canines, relaxing outdoors and breathing in the fresh air. We love it even when it’s frosty outside, even when it’s raining cats and dogs – pun 100% intended- and we much prefer it to curling up with a steamy cup of our drink of choice or hiding under the duvet with our book and a gooey brownie… right?! Stepping outside in the winter months can be a daunting thought, but our canines still need their exercise all year long and let’s be honest, so do we. We’ve rounded up some tips on how to make the experience all that much more enjoyable for all, come rain or shine.
As temperatures drop, your dog can feel the cold just as much as you. Smaller pups or those with shorter hair especially, can struggle keeping their body temperature at normal levels. A knitted jumper can be ideal to keep your four legged friend toasty when out and about. But still, do watch the clock. Short haired breeds like Chihuahuas or Dobermans can get cold easily, even when wearing layers, so limiting walks to 15-20 minutes would be sensible and still gives them enough time for them to stretch their legs.
Protect the paws
Slather some petroleum jelly on their delicate feet to create a protecting layer. This will keep them isolated from the cold, salt or de-icing grains on the ground. Just remember to wipe it off before coming back inside, unless you are feeling creative that day and would like to brining some of the outside in!
We know some hounds find us humans super slow and like pulling us along. During winter though this can be trickier to tame and it can make the walk an unpleasant experience for all involved. A harness or a hands-free lead provide extra support and a better grip to cushion the pull and keep your exploring buddy and yourself safe, away from nasty falls and slippery slopes.
Dogs’ claws should be kept short all year long, but especially so during the winter months. Make sure you trim them regularly to give your dog better traction and avoid slipping and sliding over mossy or frozen surfaces. They’ll thank you for that. Also consider getting your dogs fur left longer if they're visiting the groomers to help keep them warm.
Avoid the Salt
As the thermometer hits below or near zero temperatures, the ground and pavement start freezing. That’s when the salt grains or other anti-freezing substances start being spread all around walking surfaces to avoid slipping and nasty falls. It is very helpful for us, but it can be harmful for animals if ingested. So keep your eyes peeled and pull your canine away from affected areas. A game of fetch is usually distraction enough.