Many dog owners might not be thrilled about walking their furry friends during winter. Facing the biting cold and slippery sidewalks can be quite unappealing. It's not just the pet parents – some dogs also find these chilly walks uncomfortable.
However, it doesn't need to be a dreadful experience. A bit of preparation can make winter dog walks pleasant or at the very least, manageable.
Walk During the Warmest Part of the Day
Before stepping out for a dog walk in winter, it's wise to check the weather and aim for the warmest part of the day.
Isabella Riso, a trainer and vet tech at The HIT Living Foundation, advises that dogs generally should stay inside if temperatures drop below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). However, other elements like wind chill, precipitation, sunshine, and ground conditions (like snow or ice) are also crucial to consider.
A sunny 32-degree day with a bit of snow might be more comfortable for a walk than a rainy, windy morning at 40 degrees, even with appropriate dressing. Expert recommends planning walks for the day's warmest time, which is typically around 3 p.m. You can easily check the hourly forecast on your phone's weather app or online through sites. If your dog needs to go out earlier, keep it brief for a bathroom break and save longer exercise for later in the afternoon.
Shorten Your Walk
When it's too chilly for your usual dog walk, shorter strolls are still beneficial.
For dogs needing extra time to relieve themselves, Riso suggests a practical tip: engage your dog in indoor play and exercise for the same duration as your usual walk. This activity gets your dog's metabolism active, making it easier for them to go when you take them outside briefly.
If your area experiences extreme cold, making outdoor trips unfeasible, consider getting indoor potty grass for your dog's needs. It's also important to maintain their daily exercise. You might go out more often but limit the time outside to just a few minutes. Alternatively, there are 15-minute indoor games for dogs that help them expend energy while staying warm indoors.
Stay Warm With Cold-Weather Gear
The right attire can help both you and your dog stay toasty warm while braving chilly weather.
When gearing up for cold weather, prioritize warmth and practicality. Opt for down or down-alternative parkas, ensuring they provide ample insulation. Keep your feet cozy with thermal socks designed to trap heat. For your hands, select fleece gloves with touchscreen compatibility, allowing you to use your phone without having to remove them. And top off your winter outfit with a cute and warm knit beanie.
As for your puppies
- Warm Coats or Jackets: For essential warmth, opt for coats made of fleece, wool, or synthetic materials. It's important that the coat fits well, covering your dog’s back and sides while allowing easy movement.
- Paw Care: Protect your dog’s paws from the cold ground, ice, and harmful de-icing salts with either booties or paw wax. This will help prevent frostbite and irritation.
- Waterproof Clothing: In areas with snow or rain, waterproof coats and booties are a must to keep your dog dry.
- Visibility Accessories: With days getting shorter, ensure your dog is visible on evening walks with reflective collars, leashes, or vests.
When in Doubt, Talk to Your Vet
The comfort level of a winter walk for your dog depends on various factors specific to your pet, such as breed, age, size, and health. If you're uncertain about how winter walks might affect your dog, it's a good idea to consult with your vet.
Keep in mind that both your comfort and your dog's are paramount when walking in winter. By following these tips, you and your furry companion might even start to enjoy your winter strolls!
To ensure you and your dog enjoy winter safely and comfortably, it's crucial to wear suitable attire or gear. Keep in mind, that each dog has its own needs, so choose winter accessories that cater to your pet's requirements. Proper preparation will allow both you and your beloved dog to relish the chilly season's charm and excitement.