Keeping your Dog Safe on Winter Walks

We all still need to get outside and get some exercise even in frosty winter weather; the trick is staying warm. You need to note that if it is too cold for you to go for a walk, it is also cold for your pets to go as well. They still need to go outside and go for a walk, but you may have to limit the amount of time you take. Think of perhaps several smaller ones instead of one long one. Dogs with health issues such as heart disease should also be out for a lesser amount of time.

Staying warm is important. Just as we would put on extra clothing to go out, consider it for your pet as well. The breeds that don’t have thick or much fur would benefit from a sweater. We all know there are a lot of fun and seasonal ones to choose from. I like a lot of colour and pattern! If your pet has a thick fur coat already then it will act as insulation. The thick fur holds the air around the body working as the insulation does on your walls. Also, the snow will sit on the edge of the fur, not getting in close thus keeping your dog dry.

It is important to check their feet with winter walks. Some dogs have sensitive feet and would benefit from wearing boots (if they are willing to keep on). This is especially important if you are walking where they use a lot of salt to keep the walkways from being too slippery. When you get home to make sure to do a good ‘once over.’ Check to make sure your pet doesn’t have any salt, sand or stones stuck in their toes or on their feet. Make sure to remove any and in some cases, you may need to wash off their feet to clean them up. Make sure also to remove any excess snow or ice from their coats as we don’t want it to melt making them wet and again becoming cold.

We should consider if it is icy as well. I know I don’t want slip and fall, nor do I want my pets to fall either. This may be the time just to be out to do their “business” and come back in.

It is great to go outside and enjoy our winter weather; we just need to do it safely.

Written by Manitou Animal Hospital