Tips for those brisk winter walks

Tips for those brisk winter walks -

That winter chill has finally arrived and it’s not just people that are bracing themselves for the cold – dogs can also suffer when the temperature drops. Unless you’re the owner of a Siberian Husky, there’s a big chance that your walks are going to be shorter and more difficult than usual. So preparing yourself with the correct information and equipment, you can ensure they are kept safe and comfortable on your dark winter walks.

So what can you do to ensure a pleasant dog walk this winter? Well, you know what they say, safety comes first - Ensure your dog is kept on a lead while in open, unfamiliar areas during these winter months and keep him well away from any frozen lakes or ponds. Active dogs can get too excited and run off, and the last thing we want is for them to injure themselves or fall in. Also changing to a solid lead rather than a retractable one can give you better control over where your dog walks.

Investing in the correct equipment for you and your pooch can make for a much more enjoyable walk; ensure you have lots of blankets and towels at the ready in case your dog becomes too cold or wet and he can stay warm on the car journey back home. Most dogs will be able to cope with short walks in the cold, however some breeds will benefit from additional layers so provide them with a jacket or coat that doesn’t restrict their movements. This can be important when walking elderly dogs, short haired dogs or puppies.

If and where you can, try to stick to walking routes that have wider pavements and street lighting. If you do find yourself walking in unlit or unpaved areas, then it is a good idea to make use of the high visibility gear that is available to you and your dog. This will ensure that oncoming motorist will easily be able to see you. Flashing collars are also a good idea.

Your dogs coat should be kept long throughout this winter wonderland as it is a natural protection against the cold. Although, trimming the fur around their feet will help to avoid the build-up of ice balls between their pads and toes as this can be really painful for them. Another useful tip is to apply pet safe gels such as specific paw balms and even Vaseline as this will help prevent their paws from drying and cracking. If you find that your dog is still struggling with the cold weather on his paws, lifting his paws up or refusing to move, then it might be worth investing in some protective boots for him.

If you start to notice that your dog is shaking, trembling, picking up his feet or cowering then he is more than likely not enjoying his walk so listen to what he is saying and head back home to the warmth. Remember to check his pads and his coat for any ice balls, stones or hardened mud that might be stuck. 

The winter weather can also make it difficult to keep your dogs walking routine in check but your dogs exercise requirement stays constant throughout the year, so a lack of exercise can have a negative impact on your dogs overall behaviour – sometimes leading to hyperactivity, excessive chewing and bad behaviour. Keep your dogs walk short and brisk as they can lose their body heat quite quickly but try adding a bit more pace to the walks to provide him with that much needed exercise.

Lack of exercise is also associated with chubby pooches and there are health risks that go along with the gained weight, read our top tips to find out how to get this under control - 

So with the right preparation and kit, you are your dog can start enjoying your winter walks and the beautiful snowy scenery.