Dogs can enjoy playing in snow in the wintertime, but the colder weather and darker evenings brings some challenges as well. Here are some tips to make sure that both you and your dog continue to stay fit and active during the winter months.
Keep salt and grit off paws
Salt and grit which are used to keep roads and pavements clear in icy weather can build up on dog’s paws, causing irritation. Therefore, it is important to wash their paws if you have been walking on treated surfaces. The charity PDSA advises that you could also apply a thin layer of butter to the pads of the foot, to help prevent cracking.
If your dog really seems to dislike walking on ice, snow, and grit, you could consider buying him a set of boots. This will keep the pads of his feet protected, and prevent snow from building up on the hairs between pads.
Walking after dark
If you work full-time, sometimes it is not always possible to walk your dog in daylight in the winter time. However, this is not always ideal either for you or your pet. A headtorch to light the way is a good option, and it is important to make sure that your dog is visible to other road users, with hi-vis jackets, leads, or an LED collar, for example.
It is a good idea to wear a high-vis jacket or tabard yourself as well. Keep your dog on a lead, and keep him away from frozen ponds and lakes, as they may fall through thin ice.
If your dog is older or has poor eyesight, he may really struggle with winter walks. However, it is important to keep him as active as possible, to help maintain fitness and prevent him from gaining too much weight. Try and play with him in the garden, or an indoor space if there is enough room, such as jumping to catch a ball.
If your dog is not clocking the usual amount of miles on walkies, remember to feed him less to help him keep trim and avoid becoming a pudgy pooch.
If your dog is in good health and has a thick coat of fur, he won’t need any extra insulation to keep warm outside, unless you are going to spend long stretches of time standing still. Older dogs, and breeds with thinner fur, may need a winter coat to help them keep warm outdoors, just as humans do.
There are various different types of dog coat, such as waterproof coats, fleece coats, hi-vis coats, or multipurpose coats which are wind proof and offer protection against cold and rain. Make sure that it fits well and doesn’t obstruct their movement, or appear to be annoying them.
Keep them out of draughts
Finally, make sure that your dog has a warm and comfortable place to sleep, which is away from draughts, such as a dog doza waterproof cushion dog bed.