Some breeds of dog with a thick double coat are built for the winter and fare well when the temperature drops but there are other dogs who do not. There are many other risky factors to keep in mind when walking your dog in cold weather. These are my top tips for keeping your dog safe.
Use a reflective lead/ collar/ harness or jacket on your dog while walking. These are essential items for the long dark nights and make sure cars can see your dog when you walk by the roadside. They will also help you spot your dog when off lead across fields or the park on gloomy days.Water
Always make sure your dog has enough fresh water to drink. This should prevent them trying to drink from puddles which are likely to contain poisonous substances like antifreeze, oil or gritting salt. Drinking from roadside puddles may seem harmless but can make your dog pretty poorly.
Dogs can damage their ligaments and muscles if they slip so keep an eye out for icy patches. This is especially important for owners of puppies and elderly dogs who are a little more unsteady on their paws and can easily hurt themselves. Shorten their walks on icy mornings or ideally wait until the ice has thawed.
I recommend putting your dog on the lead near frozen bodies of water. Dogs can easily fall through ice but can rarely make it out without help.
Your dog should have a nice thick bed. It will insulate them from the cold floor and cushion their joints.
Has your dog had enough?
When walking your dog watch out for whining, an anxious appearance, slowing of pace or shivering. These are indicators that it is time to get back indoors and wam up. Dogs feel the cold just like us so on very cold days they may want to come home sooner than usual.
Leave your dog’s towel on the radiator to dry them off and warm them up when you get home. If it is cold and your dog has become muddy on their walk we recommend either:
washing them in the bath with warm water, towel dry and blow dry the excess water
leave the mud to dry and then give them a good rub down.
Hosing your dog with cold water and leaving them with wet fur for hours after their walk will leave your dog very cold and miserable.
If you have been pavement walking check your dogs pads when you get home. Gritting salt can become lodged between the pads and fur and irritate or crack them. Give them a quick rise to be safe to make sure there isn’t salt lurking between the digits.
Wrap them up
There are many brands and designs of clothing you can buy your dog to wear on wintery walks.. Fleeces, snoods, coats and even non slip boots! Shop around and find the best design for your dog. Do they just need to be kept warm? Does it need to be waterproof? Do you want it to fit under or over their harness? Do you have a short dog who gets muddy in the fallen leaves?
Take the pressure off
Many of our dog owners really benefit knowing their dog has had a good run around with their friends at lunchtime. It means they don’t need to tackle an hour long walk on lead in the dark at the end of the day and have more time for enjoying cosy evenings in with the family.
If you worry about your dog having enough exercise with shorter daylight hours and you struggle to take a good break at lunch, call us on get in touch HERE