It is healthy for both dogs and their owners to adventure out on daily walks even in the midst of winter. Walks can help the body both physically and mentally. However, while taking these winter walks, it is important to consider the various elements of winter.
Planning Winter Walks With Your Pooch
1. Some Breeds Do Not Tolerate the Cold as Well as Others
While some dog breeds are built for the cold, there are many breeds that are not. Cold-tolerant dogs include but our not limited to the following breeds: Alaskan Malamute, American Eskimo Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Chow Chow, German Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, Norwegian Elkhound, Saint Bernard, Samoyed, and Siberian Husky. If your dog is not a cold-tolerant dog, on cold days you may want to consider donning your pooch with a sweater or coat. If the weather is cold and dry, a sweater will probably be your best option. If the weather is cold and moist, a water-resistant coat may be a better choice. You also want to consider a sweater or coat for your dog if he/she falls under any of the following categories: very young or very old, short haired, smaller in size, has an illness or disability that would prevent him/her from staying warm.
2. Protecting Paws from Ice, Snow, and Chemicals
Certain winter elements, both created by nature and by humans, can cause damage and irritation to your dog’s paws. Cold, ice, and snow build up in the pads could cause cuts or frostbite. Salt (most brands contain ice-melting chemicals), can irritate the paws and if licked, can cause sickness. The best thing to do is to provide winter booties for your dogs to wear on your winter walks. Dog booties will protect their paws from all these elements. But what if your dog won’t wear booties?
3. Cleaning Paws
If your dog refuses to wear booties, it is crucial that their paws are washed and rinsed upon returning from a winter walk. Washing the paws with soap and water followed by a thorough rinse with water will remove any harmful chemicals that may have been picked up on streets and sidewalks. Check out this article for more tips on maintaining healthy paws.
4. Be Observant for Shivering or Shaking
Be observant on your walks. If you notice your dog shivering or shaking, take your dog back home to warm up.
5. Avoid Bodies of Water That May Not Be Safe to Be On
Always stress caution when it comes to a frozen body of water such as a river, a lake, or a pond. Never allow your dog on a river, as the flowing water beneath the ice is completely unpredictable. Lakes and ponds should be at least four inches thick to walk on safely. It is also important to be aware of areas in a pond or lake where there may be a spring or a stream flowing in or out of it. These factors can affect and reduce the thickness of the ice. When uncertain, STAY OFF THE ICE.
For ideas on indoor games to play with your pup, click here.
May you and your pooch enjoy many joyous walks this winter!
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