Now that it’s dark early it’s important to stay safe when out and about with your dog.
1. Stay active outdoors
When walking your dog in the cold, be sure to stay active to keep their (and your) temperature up!
2. Pick your walking times carefully
If you can, go for your walk when the sun has come up and the temperature has hopefully risen slightly! If the weather is dreadful, there is no harm in waiting for a let up in weather before heading out.
3. If your dog doesn’t have an undercoat, pop a little coat on them
In general, a dogs coat is great for the colder weather. However, some breeds are better adapted for cold weather than others. If your dog has a double coat (Huskies, Labradors and Golden Retrievers), they will simply need a good dry down when you get in from your walk and possibly a drying coat for your journey home.
Some dogs who are made for the colder weather may become more active in the winter months and will really enjoy their time out.
Dogs with less hair such as Whippets and Grey Hounds may prefer to stay home during the winter. They may still enjoy their walks, but you might find they need to be shorter, keeping them moving and get them a little coat (if they’ll let you!)
If your dog has no undercoat, or has just been clipped, they will instantly feel the cold and will definitely need a coat to keep them warm.
4. Clean coats and paws after walks
Paths are covered in de-icing chemicals or salts which are harmful to your dog so be sure to clean their coats and paws when you come back from your walks.
5. Clean between their toes
Be sure to remove mud and snow from between your dogs toes. If it is left their it can make their paws sore!
6. Feed slightly more
To keep warm, your dog needs more energy so you may need to feed them more than you usually do.
7. Light them up
If you are heading out when it’s still dark, or your evening walk is now pitch black, invest in a high vis jacket (for you and your dog). You can also get light up collars, or lights that clip on to their existing collars to help them be seen at night!
Staying safe on your dog walk
- Water, ice and snow –
Many dogs love the snow. It is new and exciting and they can play for ages in it! However, snow can become stuck in their coats in balls meaning they will get colder quicker.
If you usually walk your dog by a river or lake or other body of water, be mindful that this may now be frozen over. If your dog falls in they will struggle to get out and you can put yourself in danger if you follow them in to help. We recommend avoiding these areas on your winter walks.
- Staying active –
While your dog is running around their temperature will stay up, but it’s important to be mindful that on your walk home or car ride home their temperature will drop. Putting a towel down and a drying coat on is good option to ensure they don’t lose too much heat and are able to dry off quicker.
- Hydration – Although it isn’t hot, keeping your dog hydrated is just as important. Be sure your dog has access to fresh water.
How do I know if my dog is cold?
This will vary depending on the dog but if you notice one or more of the below signs then you need to head home and get your dog warm:
- Stops or lays down