Whether it’s a big mountain trail or a walk in the local park, winter walking always requires a bit more attention. In more urban areas, the big thing to look out for is the grit and snow melt chemicals, some can potentially irritate the paws of your dog. A nice luke-warm dip in some water with a little dog shampoo will make sure the chemicals don’t cause any harm, or you can use a dog boot.
On crisp winters days, the air can be quite dry so dogs will need more water on these days than normal. A collapsible bowl with some luke-warm water will give your dog some extra warmth, keep them hydrated and away from eating snow. Dogs do eat snow which isn’t too harmful in small quantities, but dehydrated dogs could eat a lot, bringing their core temperature down and leaving burns in their mouth. To keep them warm while you rest, a mat or pad to lie on is ideal for keeping them off the snow.
If it’s snowing heavily while you’re out, it’s probably best to keep your dog on a leash and keep a close eye on them as snow can be very disorientating for dogs as well as humans. Just like modern day ski and alpine gear, a bright dog jacket can help identify your dog from a distance.
The same snow drifts can also hide dog waste. Keeping a close eye on your dog means you can see where they’ve been to the toilet and allows you to clean up after them. Contrary to popular belief, snow does not degrade dog waste.
Lastly, when you’ve got your dog close, check to see if they are visibly shivering or place a hand on their body to see if you can feel it.
Here’s a summary of tips and a checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered before you head out…