Updated: Jan 15
Daylight Savings Time has ended, winter is on the horizon andhe cold weather has rolled in. But no matter what time of year it is, dogs still need their exercise. Which means their human caretakers need to know how to adapt their dog walking routine to the colder months.
Over the years, more and more pet parents have elected to buy sweaters and winter coats (and potentially boots) for their furry friend to wear out and about, leading others to ponder whether or not they should do so as well. It really depends on your dog’s breed. Smaller dogs and ones with less fur tend to benefit from winter clothing the most, while others with thicker fur are often fine to go without. If you’re not sure which side your dog falls on, check with your vet. And if you do end up deciding to have your canine suit up, make sure to grab multiple jackets and sweaters in case one gets damaged or needs a while to dry off before the next walk.
Ideally, it’s best for dogs to go on walks in the daylight while they can clearly be seen by drivers and other pedestrians, though with less hours of that in the wintertime it might not always be possible. Whether or not your dog wears full-on winter gear, the collar they wear on winter walks should be reflective (as should your own clothing) especially if you are only able to take them on walks in the evening or early morning when it’s dark out. (You could also attach LED lights to your dog’s collar or leash.)
Lastly, people tend to put salt on the ground after a snowfall. While it gets the job of getting rid of some of the snow done, it’s not good for dogs to be around (and the same goes for most other chemical ice-melts). So make sure to avoid areas with lots of salt on the ground when walking your dog. As for your own home, purchase canine-safe salt alternatives to deal with the snow in your area, and be sure to wipe your dog’s paws with warm water after returning from a winter walk and dry them off afterwards.
With these few tips you and your dog will be able to enjoy safe and pleasant walks throughout the winter months.