Walking a Dog in the Snow
Walking your dog in the snow can be both challenging and hazardous. If it snows this winter, you need to take extra care when out on dog walks. All dog owners should be aware of the difficulties that snow presents, and how to prepare properly for walking a dog in the snow. If you want to keep you and your pooch safe, here are some handy tips and things to remember.
Wear snow boots
You need to make sure you have adequate grip when walking in the snow, and that means getting a pair of walking boots or snow boots. Snow boots should also protect your feet from getting wet and snow getting into your shoes. The last thing you want is wet, freezing cold feet.
Layers and warm clothes
Dog walkers should be properly dressed when venturing out into the snow. If you aren’t dressed properly you could catch a chill, or simply cut your dog’s walk short due to being too cold. Wear plenty of layers, waterproof trousers, thick socks, a warm jumper and a waterproof jacket to protect you from the elements.
Get your dog some snow shoes
You can get special snow booties for dogs that help to protect their paws. These special shoes for dogs are particularly useful in the snow and will keep your dog’s feet warm.
Avoid deep, untouched snow
Try not to walk your dog in deep, untouched snow. You don’t know what might be underneath, and you or your dog could get injured on an object hidden beneath the thick sheet of snow. Stick to main paths and areas where people have already walked.
Look out for weather warnings
Always check the weather before you head out to make sure it’s safe. Don’t go out if there are any severe weather warnings that may affect your safety. Walking a dog in the snow can be a hazardous occupation if you don’t take precautions!
Plan your route
Plan your route carefully before you head out. Let someone else know you are going out, how long you will be gone for and what your route is. That way if there is a problem they can come and find you.
Take your phone
Take your mobile phone out with you in case you experience any problems or need assistance.
Keep your dog’s nails well trimmed
Make sure your dog’s nails are cut short enough. If they are too long your dog will be more likely to slip or catch them on something. They will have more grip with freshly cut nails.
Don’t trim hair under pawpads too short
Be careful not to trim the hair between your dog’s paw pads too short. Dogs need a bit of hair here as it helps protect their feet from the ice and snow. It’s also important that the hair isn’t too long and matted as it will attract clumps of snow which will be painful.
Consider using a paw pad balm
Try using a protective paw pad balm to nourish and form a barrier between your dog’s paw pads and the snow. However, some paw pad balm can be slippery and should only be applied after walks to soothe paw pads. Read the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully.
Other things to consider:
Don’t overdo it – staying out too long or pushing yourself too far in the snow is risky for both you and your dog
Don’t let your dog eat snow – it could contain traces of deicer which is poisonous to dogs.
Buy a dog coat/jumper – to keep your dog nice and warm and protect them from the cold.
Have towels ready – so that when you get back you can dry your dog quickly and easily.
Stay hydrated – make sure you and your dog are adequately hydrated.
Don’t let your dog pull – they could end up pulling you over or causing you to slip on the ice.