Tips for Winter Proofing Dog Walks

Walking our dogs is an important year round activity. It allows them to take care of business outside, get some exercise, sniff, mark, be social with other dogs, sniff some more and enjoy time outdoors with their favorite poop bag carrying people. With winter in full bloom, here are some winter-proofing tips to improve the quality of our walks.

Salt and ice can irritate a dog’s paws especially when lodged in the pads. One solution is to create a barrier with dog booties. Even the hard working dogs in the Iditarod race wear boots to protect their paws. While size is important when shopping for dog boots, also look for adjustable straps to prevent the boots from being too tight or slipping off.

Mixed-terrier Taffy loves walks in the snow, but detests wearing booties. If your dog is like Taffy, what can you do? When applied to the paws, Musher’s Secret provides protection from salt and ice. This natural wax is safe for dog’s to ingest, allows perspiration through the toes and also blocks pesticides. Alternatively, a coating of petroleum jelly before and after winter walks keeps the pads from chapping and cracking.

As a general rule, if it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for your dog. Monitoring your walking distance is critical, as prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures dries out their pads and increases their risk for hypothermia or frostbite. When it’s chilly outside, a dog sweater is practical. Add function to fashion by finding a harness, such as Harness Lead, to go over the sweater. When returning from your winter walks, greet your dog with a paw soak in warm water and a towel to dry the paws and belly. These easy spa treatments will help remove any remaining pieces of ice, snow or salt.

When venturing outside in these winter months, dogs need additional calories to stay warm and develop a layer of insulation. Achieve this without allowing your dog to become overweight is easy. Just include a little more kibble at mealtime or give some extra treats throughout the day. Look for salmon skin as an ingredient in your food, bully sticks, treats or snacks to provide calories as well as omega fatty acids. Fish contain oils that prevent dry skin and give your dog a healthy coat.