Bundle Up! How to Walk Your Dog Safely in Cold Weather
When the temperature drops and the snow flies, your dog still needs to be walked outside. And, although you’d probably much rather stay snuggled up on the sofa, there are ways to make heading outdoors tolerable. Follow these tips to keep your pooch safe when venturing into frigid conditions.
Check the forecast before hitting the trails with your dog
Typically, the coldest part of the day is first thing in the morning. However, conditions can change in the blink of an eye, and your area may experience a rapid temperature drop in the late afternoon. Before planning your dog’s outdoor adventures, check the forecast and determine the warmest time of day to head outside. Monitoring the forecast also will help you stay out of snowfall, freezing rain, or other unpleasant conditions.
Outfit your dog in appropriate cold-weather gear
While your dog is already outfitted with a fur coat, their fur won’t keep them dry and safe from ice-melting chemicals and ice shards. Before walking your pup outside, bundle them up in a waterproof, fleece-lined jacket. Protect your dog’s paws from snow clumps, ice fragments, and winter chemicals, such as sidewalk salt and antifreeze, with waterproof dog booties. Ensure the booties fit properly so your pet can walk comfortably. If your dog develops a cracked, rough nose from the dry air, consider applying a nose and paw balm designed specifically for this problem.
Avoid walking your dog near dangerous areas
After a snowfall, it can be difficult to find a safe path to tread with your dog. Stick to visible paths since you never know what could be hidden under a snowdrift. And, if you live near a pond or lake, never let your dog venture out onto the ice, no matter how thick it appears.