Walking in a winter wonderland can be relaxing and fun, but it does come with some extra dangers for you and your pooch. Discover the potential dangers of winter walks and learn how to avoid them so your dog stays safe and comfortable.
Protect Those Paws
You strap on your snow boots to head outside, but what about your dog? Snow and ice can be uncomfortably cold and can even ball up against your dog’s paw pads. Salt and other ice-fighting chemicals can irritate your dog’s skin. Before heading outside, cover your dog’s paws with Musher’s Secret or a similar protective balm, or buy your dog boots of his own.
Short winter days often mean that you have no choice but to walk your dog after dark. Outfit your dog in brightly colored vests or jackets, and invest in reflective collars and leashes. Clip-on LED lights also add visibility.
Know When It’s Too Cold
Most dogs handle cold weather well, so if you can go outside, your pup probably can, too. However, be cautious with older dogs or breeds with thin skin coats, such as greyhounds or chihuahuas. Invest in a dog jacket and other cold-weather gear for those dogs.
Leave the Earbuds at Home
Listening to music can be motivating, but it can also hide environmental cues. Stay alert for sounds of cars sliding on ice or other hazards so that you can stay safe.
Beware of Snowdrifts
Romping in the snow is always fun, but large drifts can hide sharp tools and other hazards. Don’t let your dog play in drifts unless you know what is under them.
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Slow Down Over Ice
Dogs don’t always have the best sense of self-preservation, but they can slip and hurt themselves just like people can. Make sure your dog walks slowly over icy areas, and don’t let him pull you. If your dog has a tendency to pull, invest in a no-pull harness or halter to minimize the risk.
Watch For Signs of Discomfort
Signs of hypothermia in dogs can be subtle, but be sure to watch out for them. Your dog may seem reluctant to move or try to burrow into the snow to let you know that it’s getting too cold. After long walks or in particularly harsh weather, check your dog’s ears, paws and tail for frostbite.
Keep the Leash On Around Ice
Don’t let your dog run out onto frozen bodies of water unless you know for sure that they’re safe. Sometimes ice can be deceptively weak, and your dog may fall in. Even if the pond isn’t frozen, it’s best to avoid swims in cold weather as the frigid water can cause hypothermia.
Winter weather is no reason to stay indoors, and these simple tips can help you ensure that your four-legged friend stays safe and has fun. Start your winter gear collection with this adorable reflective leash.
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