One of the greatest joys of life with my dogs is when I walk them. Necessary for their physical and mental well-being (and ours too!), but the winter months can make these daily sojourns a bit challenging for those of us in colder climates. The good news is, with a bit of planning, you and your buddy can enjoy the brisk air and snowy wonderland that keeps our dog-less friends indoors!
Protect our feet. You are no good to your dog if you are unconscious on the sidewalk after hitting a patch of ice! Your daily walks don’t have to be so dangerous if you’re wearing sturdy boots with some type of grips. There are numerous brands available at sporting goods stores and online. I have one which is easy to find and work great. I strongly recommend the strapped version as my first strap-free pair snapped off early in the season!
Dress appropriately. Even a blizzard can’t deter an intrepid walker dressed right! Wear warm socks and layer clothing just as you would for any winter sport. In addition to the basics – hat, gloves, scarf, warm coat, I also wear thin, nylon snow pants over my regular pants all winter. Doing so keeps me warm, dry, and able to enjoy lengthier walks with my buddy.
For my lovely dogs:
Protect their paws. Most dogs, especially the larger breeds, are hearty in the winter but there are things you can do to keep them safe. Trim the fur between their pads so it will collect less salt, ice, and snow. If you see your dog prancing – lifting one paw at a time and holding it up, act. Check the paw(s). There just be salt, snow, or ice stuck between the pads. Gently clean it out and you should be good to go. Keeping the nails trim also helps with traction and prevents these clumps from forming. Use Natural Paw Protection Cream for Pets to protect their paws from getting very dry.
When you get home, wipe down the paws to remove any remnants. Salt and de-icing chemicals, even the pet-friendly kind, can be dangerous if ingested. Also, be vigilant about the pads. Frequently check them for cracks and dryness. An all-natural Natural Paw Protection Cream For Pets emollient will help moisturize them and protect them from the elements. Booties are another option. Not all dogs will take to them, but they are available for dogs of all sizes. Make sure to put some Natural Paw Protection Cream For Pets before putting on their boots.
Dress them appropriately. Small dogs really do benefit from protective weather gear – boots, sweaters, coats. Larger dogs don’t require them as much, but they are always an option if you are concerned or if your dog is especially sensitive to the cold. Towel the dog off when you get home to keep him warm, dry, and clean.
Research has shown the dog owners who regularly walk their pets enjoy greater physical and mental health benefits than those without pets. Don’t let the winter weather prevent you from receiving those great benefits all year long! After our long walk, we sit back with a warm cup of cocoa and I snuggle with my best friend. You both deserve it!