Walking your dog is something that we have to do all year round, and walking your dog in winter is no different. There are no excuses. It’s an essential thing to do for their health in every sense possible. It keeps them happy, stops them getting bored, makes them exercise more, manages their weight, manages their energy… The list goes on. It’s even great for doing the same for you.
When it comes to walking your dog in winter specifically, however, things just aren’t so pleasant. It’s only natural to want to give it a miss every now and then. It’s cold, dark and wet. That’s what makes winter, winter, but you must make sure your dog doesn’t pay the price where possible.
To help make sure that doesn’t happen, we’re here with a few handy tips to help you keep you both safe and motivated, walking your dog in winter especially, but all year round too.
One of the biggest things to note about walking your dog in winter for the good of their health is to remember to avoid ice wherever you can. Ice is seriously bad news for dogs (unless you have dog boots that your dog is comfortable with). You need to make sure you avoid it to the best of your ability, even if that means planning ahead.
The friction that comes with walking on ice and the direct contact that has on your dog’s paws is a bad combination. It can be seriously painful and can usually result in some nasty blistering if not worse. It really is just as bad as walking them when it’s too hot. Keep this one in mind.
Sticking with the idea of the cold that comes with winter, another great point to remember is to make sure you both wrap up when you’re outside. No matter if you’re going for quick dash or a long trek, it’s vital you both keep warm enough.
It’s different for different dogs and how active they are on walks, but it’s always worth thinking about. It can get awfully cold outside, and chances are, your dog is a lot smaller than you are (even if furrier). Consider trying a coat and see if your dog can adjust to using one.
Make you both Visible
Just in case dressing warmly wasn’t enough for preparing your dog for winter walking, another vital thing for you to remember is that you both need to stay visible at all times. It doesn’t matter whether you keep your dog close by or want to let them off their lead; lights are always a smart idea.
It’s incredibly easy to lose your dog on a walk, and on top of that, it’s an essential feature when you think about others too. If Someone else can’t see you and your dog, you’re at a risk from a huge range of other things. That can be things such as other dogs who may not like other dogs, or worse still, moving traffic. It’s an easy adjustment to make.
Carry a torch
Even if you are both lit up the Eiffel tower when you’re walking your dog in winter, sometimes, things just don’t quite go as you expected. Whether your dog gets lost, runs away, or simply went to see someone else. It all happens, and it can be easy to get separated when things are dark and rainy.
To help in the case of an emergency, one great piece of advice to keep in mind is to remember to carry a torch with you as much as possible. For a simple habit to get into, if you ever venture somewhere dark, it can be a huge help (with spotting your dog’s mess too).
Reduce walking at night and keep in lit-up areas
The last thing we’ll look at is just life advice as well as dog walking advice, so listen up. When you’re out and about when it’s dark for the majority of the day, it’s usually a great idea to stick to safe areas of your neighbourhood. It’s a lot like making sure you’re both visible.
You can always keep yourself and your dog safe and secure without risking getting separated, accidents, or even worse still, theft. You never know who’s out there, so take any precautions that you can whenever you can.
Ultimately, winter can be a great time of year if your indoors, but when you have to go out, look after yourself. It can be dangerous for a lot of reasons. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
For more info on looking after your dog in winter, check this out from Blue Cross for Pets