Cold Weather Walking Tips for Dogs
How to keep a dog warm and comfortable during winter?
It’s a question dog groomers and pet owners are both familiar with. If you live in a northern state (or country) then you no doubt understand the struggle of walking a dog in the winter months.
Heading out into sub-zero temperatures? Strolling in the arctic cold wind? Picking up doggy business in the snow?
And while we humans can wear mitts, hats, and coats, our four-legged friends require special considerations.
To keep your pup happy and healthy this winter, consider the following cold weather walking tips from the dog grooming experts here at Groomit.
5 Winter Walking Tips for Dogs
- Invest in a high-quality coat
The first way to enjoy winter walkies is by purchasing a proper coat for your pooch. A good coat will fit properly, trap their body heat in, and repel water and falling snow. When it comes to keeping your dog safe during winter, staying dry is key. Look for different materials. A waterproof outer canvas with a soft inner lambswool or fleece layer is a common pick.
Dog groomers suggest looking for three things in a coat. It should be:
Remember, just because dogs have fur doesn’t necessarily mean they are protected from the elements! While a fluffy husky might love going for a walk in a blizzard, a shorthaired whippet certainly will not. Choose the right coat for your dog’s breed.
And don’t forget!
Even during the winter months, dogs still require regular grooming to stay clean. Be sure to schedule convenient in-home or mobile appointments all year long.
- Use boots to protect paws
Did you know?
The salt we throw down on sidewalks and roads can actually lead to chemical burns in your dog’s paw pads. Ouch! In addition, walking on salt can dry out or crack the skin. There are salves and creams available to soothe sore paws, but an even better idea is to prevent the problem in the first place.
So, if you live in a city that salts the streets, get your pup some doggy boots. These come in all sizes. Plus, a well-made pair will last for years. It might take your dog some time to get used to…that’s okay! Enjoy their silly leg waddles. Soon, they will grow accustomed to their new footwear and thank you for thinking of protecting their toes.
- Keep your dog on leash
Next, to keep winter walks safe and fun, resist the urge to let your dog go off-leash. This is especially true if you live near ponds, lakes, or other open bodies of water. Unfortunately, it only takes a second for a dog to accidentally run out onto thin ice. The last thing we want is for our pups to fall through and get wet, cold, stranded, or worse…
By keeping your dog on a leash, you are minimizing risks.
- Limit time outdoors
Fourth, Groomit recommends limiting how much time is spent outside.
When it comes to the question of “How cold is too cold to walk my dog?” the answer depends on multiple factors. For example, small dog breeds lose heat more quickly than medium or large dog breeds. Sure, some dogs love the snow! For instance, a Saint Bernard, Norwegian Elkhound, or Alaskan Malamute will likely enjoy cooler weather.
But still, no dog should be left outside for too long.
Shivering, whimpering, and lethargy are three signs it’s time to come back inside. The Rescue Vets recommends limiting walk time once temperatures reach 20 degrees or below.
- Watch your dog for signs of frostbite
Finally, keep a close eye on your dog during walks. PetMD warns that cold-associated health problems, such as hypothermia and frostbite, can quickly develop under frigid conditions.
Wind chill, dampness, cloud cover, and the length of the walk will greatly impact how cold they feel. Frostbite can range from mild to severe. However, all cases are uncomfortable for our pups. That’s why it’s so crucial to pay attention to their bodies when exposed to cold temperatures.
If you notice the following:
- Gray or blue skin
- Skin ulcers
- Stiff joints
- Fluid discharge
Then you must suspect frostbite. Bring your dog inside immediately and contact a veterinarian for guidance. Likewise, pale gums, dilated pupils, an inability to control their movements, and trembling all point to possible hypothermia.
Stay safe this winter with mobile pet grooming
Worried about your dog catching a chill this winter?
Our team of highly-rated dog groomers will come to you! Groomit offers house call grooming, often with same-day availability. Download the Groomit app or visit our website for a full list of service locations.
We know how to keep dogs looking “paw-some” twelve months a year.
Happy winter walks!