While we are all still enjoying these long summer days with our pooches, winter is just around the corner. With winter comes snow, sleet, and more rain which can make the everyday walk a bit of a pain and hazardous to our dogs. While pet owners are not about to give up their pooches strolls, there are some simples tips that will help make those walks in the colder months a bit more bearable.
1. Wear proper outdoor gear.
When you’re outside in the brutal winter weather, you need to be dressed to withstand the cold long enough to make your pup happy on their daily walks. For the season, you should invest in a good vest, a jacket, petite sweaters, and accessories like a fluffy scarf. The outdoor gear will protect you from the harsh weather elements like snow and ice. The better your winter wardrobe, the less likely you are to pressure your dog to do their business as quickly as possible. The winter months can be beautiful if you’re dressed for the occasion. Check out retailers like White House Black Market for beautiful petite women’s pieces like ponchos or sweaters. They also have great layering pieces— try a button-up cardigan for a functional yet chic look!
2. Invest in a quality harness.
Most puppy owners are aware that using just a collar and leash can lead to serious neck and vocal chord issues if you pull too hard. Also, a dog’s behavior can depend on the snug fit of their harness. One of the best options is to look into a dog harness no pull especially if you have little ones who are just learning how to walk a dog. A good harness will buckle around the dog’s chest giving the perfect fit. Usually their front legs and head go through the harness. With a few minor adjustments, your dog will be walking right by your side instead of slipping on the ice.
3. Wipe paws and moisturize.
After a winter walk, it is always important to wipe your dog’s paws. You want to make sure you use a warm washcloth and have a towel handy for drying. If you are in a hurry, there are pre-moistened pet wipes that can be bought for your convenience. Washing your pet’s padding helps to remove any salt or ice melt chemicals that may have gotten in between their paws or stuck to their pads before they decide to lick them. After you cleaned your pet’s paw well enough you can also apply pet-safe skin cream. Just like humans, the cream will prevent their skin from drying out and becoming rough or cracked. If you are looking for an all-natural option, coconut oil would be the best choice since it is safe to ingest. The internet has many recipes for paw waxes or balms that may help. Also, making sure your dog is hydrated will keep their skin from drying in the first place.
4. Keep the promenades short and sweet.
Even though your dog may usually enjoy longer walks throughout the day, you will need to keep winter jaunts short and sweet. Some days may be warmer than others, but on bitterly cold days you want to make sure you limit their walks to fifteen minutes. Your dog’s body language can tell you if they can handle more. If they keep picking up their paws, shaking, or whining, get them home immediately so you can warm them up. These are all signs that your dog is uncomfortable and may need a pullover sweater or something to cover your dog’s back.
5. Limit your dog’s snacking.
If your dog is anything like my dog, she loves to nibble at snacks found on her walk. During the winter months, this trait can be especially dangerous thanks to rock salt, ice melting products, and antifreeze. As the dog parent, you will want to take extra care when walking your dog. Try to stay on the sidewalk when you can. If your pet is known to get hungry during their walks, give them a treat before you leave so they won’t be tempted while out and about. You can also try to bring along some extra treats if you need a distraction.