Dogs, just like their humans, enjoy the snow and the game it brings. exercise is just as important in winter as it is in summer. walking your dogs every day is still crucial, even if there is snow and ice on the ground.
There are dangers to be aware of for you and your dog. Just like in summer, your dog’s legs, age, coat and condition will have an impact. We created this ultimate guide to walking your dog in the snow so you can be prepared and protect your dog in cold weather.
Reading: How long can dogs walk in the snow
You wouldn’t go out on the snow and ice without weather-resistant socks, shoes or boots. You should also not ship your pup without proper protection. The first thing to consider is the temperature and weather conditions outside.
according to the vets at petmd.com: “in general, cold temperatures should not become a problem for most dogs until they drop below 45°f, at which point some cold-averse dogs they may begin to feel uncomfortable.When temperatures drop below 32°F, owners of small breed dogs, thin-coated dogs, and very young, old, or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being. As temperatures drop below 20°F, all owners should be aware that their dogs could develop health problems associated with the cold, such as hypothermia and frostbite.”
Before you open the door and let your dog go, there are special precautions you need to take. You also need to make sure your dog’s paws are ready to face cold conditions.
Trimming your dog’s nails is always necessary for your dog’s comfort and safety. in the winter, it is even more crucial. When nails grow, they force the toes apart, allowing ice, snow, and chemicals to embed themselves in the paws and cause discomfort or damage.
Just as important as the nails is the fur that grows around the pads and between the toes.
It is important to trim the fur around the paw and between the toes. you need to make sure that the skin is level with the paw and does not touch the ground. this will prevent moisture from penetrating the paws and causing ice balls to form around the pads causing discomfort.
Making sure nails and fur are trimmed will help prevent ice buildup. this will reduce the effects of cold that could cause frostbite, tissue damage, or general discomfort.
Your four-legged family member needs more attention and care in the winter. being aware of the condition of your paws will go a long way in treating and preventing pain or worse. there are products you can buy or things you can do on your own to make sure their paws stay happy and healthy.
products for legs
There are some products on the market to help protect your dog’s paws in cold weather. One of the most common products for walking your dog in the snow are bootees for dogs.
These boots or socks allow for traction on snow and ice while providing warmth and protection from cold and wet weather. You can find these boots and socks readily available online and at pet stores.
You can also find balms and ointments to apply to your furry friend’s paws. Products like Mushers Secret or Bag Balm are easily found at drugstores and pet stores. These wax-based treatments will provide a protective barrier between your dog’s paws and the elements.
caution should be taken when using products on the pads of the feet. applying balms or putting boots on them indoors will make your feet slippery and could land on tiled or linoleum surfaces.
we advise you to apply the balms or socks near the door and on a pad, blanket or rug. this will help traction and give you a shorter distance to be outside.
keep your dog warm
There are many factors related to the warmth of your furry friends in colder climates. Natural and external factors, such as weather conditions, the environment, and your pup’s coat, all have a factor in its warmth.
You should consider all of these factors before sending your dog outdoors. dogs do not sense temperature changes as much or as accurately as humans. however, this does not mean that they are less susceptible to weather.
long-term exposure can affect our four-legged friends, and they may take longer to recover.
Famous dog trainer and expert Cesar Millan says on his website: “While the condition can affect dogs and humans, it can affect dogs more severely because they are generally smaller than people and because their body temperature normal for a dog is higher than ours. — in fact, when a human’s body temperature reaches what’s normal for a dog, it’s called a fever, and the higher end of normal for a dog would land a human in the hospital.
The normal range for dogs is 101 to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C). If a dog’s temperature falls into the normal human range of 97.6 to 99.6°F (36.4 to 37.6°C), this is really the danger point at which to seek medical attention.” /p>
The fur plays a fundamental role in regulating body temperature. every aspect of its coat and condition comes into play:
- layer thickness. dogs with thicker, double-coated coats are more resistant to cold than dogs with fine coats.
- coat length. the length of the coat also comes into play. longer coats will provide more heat absorption than short coats.
- the color of the coat. darker fur will absorb and retain heat more easily and efficiently than light colors.
- skin color. dogs with a lighter or pinker base coat color will lose heat much faster than dogs with a darker coat color.
- dog weight. heavier dogs have better natural insulation than thinner puppies. managing your dog’s weight is crucial.
- the age and health of your beloved pet. older dogs and new puppies are more susceptible to cold weather conditions. dogs that have or have recently recovered from illness may also be at higher risk in cold weather.
Understanding the type and condition of your dog’s coat will allow you to better care for a pet when the temperature drops appropriately. You should never shave your dog’s coat in winter. however, a trim should be made for long-haired dogs, as this will prevent snow and ice from accumulating on their fur which can cause burns and skin conditions.
Frequent brushing will remove dead fur and stimulate natural oils that will help protect your dog from cold and wet weather. You should also avoid numerous baths in the colder months. the more you wash your dog, the less buildup of these oils and skin conditioners he will have.
trying to maintain body heat will cause your dog to burn more energy. dehydration is common in the winter. You need to make sure your dog has extra food and constant access to water. this will prevent dehydration and the adverse effects of cold.
When you need extra help, there are numerous products you can buy or make yourself that will help keep our best friends comfortable.
products to buy
In addition to booties and socks, if your dog is smaller, lighter in color, or has a thinner coat, you can also purchase a jacket blanket. these jackets wrap around your dog, just like your coat does for you, and will help them fight off cold winds, moisture, and prolonged exposure to the elements.
You can find these jackets at any pet store or online pet supply supplier. When making a purchase, especially for online purchases, you need to make sure that the jacket fits you correctly. measure your dog and follow the charts on online provider sites to ensure the fit is correct.
A combination of boots and a jacket may be necessary if your dog is in the danger areas due to age, health, or coat type.
do it yourself
If you’re thrifty or crafty, you can make your own jackets or boots. Using your sewing machine, you can easily create a warm jacket for your dog.
You can find tons of ideas and patterns to use on pinterest. If you want to spend a bit of money, you can go to your local fabric store and pick up a plain or mccall pattern for dog jackets.
Recycling your old jackets and sweaters is also a good idea. If your child has outgrown a sweatshirt, you can easily turn it into a dog sweater that will help prevent shivering and the effects of cold weather.
designs, styles and materials are left entirely up to you. you just need to make sure of fit and coverage. style is not as important as warmth and comfort for your dog. have fun creating different looks for various outdoor adventures.
protect your dog
The most important aspect of prevention is understanding. knowing that your dog is susceptible to the cold is key. dogs are smart they are also tough. however, you are still the leader of their pack. It is up to you to ensure the security of the package.
When walking your dog in the snow, there are extra precautions you should take.
walking your dog in the snow
Snow brings many more dangers and unsafe conditions for your dog. We have talked about prevention and things to do before leaving home. Now we will cover what he can do while he is walking or playing in the garden.
First, you must maintain control at all times. being alert to the environment your dog is in and where it is going is crucial. you not only need to be aware of the immediate environment, but also what lies ahead. Environmental hazards can hide under the snow: holes, tree branches, and even other animals are easy for your dog to lose in the snow.
You should also keep an eye on the temperature, wind chill, and how long you’ve been outdoors. The general rule is that if you are cold, so is your dog. pay as much attention to the weather as the environment around your dog.
your dog will occupy all the space you allow him. the length of his lead will play a big part in his distance from you. the further away they are, the less control you have. You should refrain from pulling hard on the leash, as the dog will pull back, giving you less control.
go slowly. when you go for a walk, you are not in a race. It should be enjoyed and under your speed and control. if you go too fast you will have less time to react to something that goes wrong.
Look out for patches of ice, puddles, potential holes, branches, and anything that could entangle, cut, or injure your dog. you need to be even more aware of what it is like in the warmer months and in better conditions.
what to pay attention to
Nobody knows what’s going on with their body like your dog does. You must be able to pay attention to visual clues. Since our little furry pets can’t talk to us to tell us what the problem is, they will react.
Watch for physical signs, such as ice buildup or snowballs on his fur. if you see them build up, you should stop walking and remove them. Bringing a towel and a water bottle filled with warm (not hot) water will quickly remove snow and ice buildup from the fur. make sure to keep the fur as dry as possible after melting ice and snow.
your dog also has certain characteristics. you need to be aware of these. if they start walking at slower speeds or take more frequent and longer breaks, it could be a sign that it’s time to get in.
Marking and routines in the bathroom are also something to consider. Your dog can easily become dehydrated and the extra pooping during extended outings could cause this to develop further.
it is important to watch out for lameness. If your pup begins to limp or avoid using one or more paws, you should investigate. maybe there is snow or ice causing discomfort when spreading the toes. it may even be freezing.
Finally, be on the lookout for neighbors or city officials using salt or de-icers to melt snow and ice. this is highly toxic to a dog and is quickly absorbed through its paw pads. You can find pet-friendly de-icing crystals that are safe for dogs. you should use this on your patios and pathways and ask your neighbors to do the same.
once the walk is over, your job as pack leader is still active. you should properly care for your dog to ensure there are no lingering effects of the cold.
should immediately remove boots and jackets, as well as the belt. drying your dog is very important. if they are allowed to remain moist, the cold will last longer and prevent your core temperature from rising efficiently.
Check your best friend carefully to remove any icy buildup on his fur. you should also check your feet carefully. don’t rub your feet. if their pads are sore or their feet are too cold, rubbing them vigorously could cause more damage.
Look for raw pads or discoloration on feet and skin. these can be signs of both hypothermia and frostbite. If you are ever in doubt, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If your pup is just cold, you can wrap him in towels or a blanket and place warm (not hot) water bottles near him. Once your dog has raised his core temperature, he will return to his normal happy and playful self.
Just as important to your dog’s safety and comfort, his safety should be high on your list of priorities. Just like your dog, your comfort and warmth are important. In order to properly monitor your dog and be aware of his surroundings, you must first be able to monitor yours.
prevent chills and slips
starts before leaving home. proper clothing and protection are essential. avoiding drops in core body temperature is crucial. wear head and ear protection, warm coats or jackets that block the wind, and protective footwear appropriate for the weather.
You can slip and fall just as easily as your dog. be aware of your position, stay dry and warm. it is important to wear the proper footwear that is rated for snow, ice, and traction. As long as you have a sure footing, you’ll be able to maintain control of your pets.
Your attention is needed on your surroundings and surroundings. if your head is buried in a cell phone or in the clouds, you won’t be able to spot hazards before they become a problem. When walking your dog in the snow, you need to know where you’re stepping and where your dog is.
You (in general) are larger and weigh more than your dog. Just because that piece of ice held up when the dog crossed it, doesn’t mean it will hold up when you do. if you’re not paying attention, it could spell disaster for you or your dog.
As we mentioned before, if you’re cold, chances are your dog is cold, too. pay attention to your body and head temperature before it becomes a problem. Also, watch the wind. the clothing you wear will prevent your body from feeling the full effects of the wind.
However, the wind can cut the coat quickly and make your dog cold very quickly. be aware of conditions and keep an eye on your four-legged baby for signs that it’s time to end the walk.
If you’re distracted, accidents are more likely to happen. You need to be aware of hazards and slip and fall spots. use voice commands as well as hand signals and leash control to walk your dog around such hazards.
If your attention is elsewhere, you can’t take proper control of the walk. As the leader of the pack, it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone returns home safe, happy, and ready to come back next time.
Getting distracted is easy. phone calls, neighbors trying to have a conversation as you walk by, even things going over your head like airplanes or flocks of birds. These and many others can easily divert your attention from what’s most important: your dog.
Cold weather, snow and ice don’t mean you have to stay indoors or keep your dog from enjoying your daily outings. If you take the proper precautions and know what to look out for, you’ll be prepared for any situation:
Make sure your dog has enough food and water every day. this will prevent dehydration during the winter months. You should give your dog the edge in warmth and traction with dog socks or boots and jackets.
Make sure you’re aware of the visual cues your dog is sending. limping, slower walking, and not using the bathroom can all be signs that something is wrong.
You must maintain control, attention and alertness at all times to ensure the safety of yourself and your pet.
Take care of yourself as well as your pet. If you’re not prepared to be outside, you won’t be able to keep an eye on your dog. Also, be very careful when you finish the hike and go back inside to get your core temperature back to normal and check for signs of damage.