How to Walk In a Winter Wonderland with Your Dog
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Just because a dog has a fur coat doesn’t mean he wants to go outside in the bitter cold without some protection. According to Steve Graham, “Dogs regulate heat through their paws, and snow and ice on their feet can be very uncomfortable, particularly if ice builds up in hair around the paws. Dog boots can protect those paws. Also, small dogs and short-haired breeds may be more comfortable in a sweater outdoors in winter.”
A quick zip out the doggie door or as you stand at the back door without coats and boots is generally fine but for any longer outings make sure your pets are warm and safe.
Since you can’t keep your dog locked inside until spring returns, we’ve got some tips to keep him warm and safe during your winter walks.
After a walk, be sure to wipe your dog’s paws down with a towel or baby wipes to get all of the salt, mud and debris out from between the pads. Also check your dog’s legs and belly. Don’t worry – your dog will learn to love this, and you’ll appreciate not having to clean your house after being outdoors.
Dogs Can’t Ice Skate, Right?
A swim in the lake or pond on a hot summer’s day is a real treat for any dog, but in the winter, that same inviting body of water is frozen over and dangerous. People, let alone dogs, have a difficult time judging the thickness of a frozen lake or pond. If your dog falls through the ice, are you prepared to jump in after him? Probably not, so it’s best to steer your dog clear of water.
Leash Him Up
Picture it: A beautiful, wide-open field covered in fresh snow as far as the eye can see, and no other dogs or people around so the spot is your dog’s for the taking. But before you let your dog off his leash to make paw angels, know that snow can seriously hinder his sniffing capabilities, which puts him at risk for getting lost.
DogTopics.com says, “The snow and cold weather are very good at muffling scents, and dogs can easily become lost as their ability to follow their scent track back to you is dramatically reduced.”
Instead of letting your dog off his leash to run, run with him and make paw angels together. Your dog will get a kick out of watching you play in the snow, and you’ll probably have more fun doing this than you would just standing there in the freezing cold, watching your dog have all the fun.
Lastly, make sure he is wearing his collar with your current contact information just in case he does get lost. Better yet, get him a microchip in case he loses his collar. It’s well worth the one-time fee.
Don’t Drink That!
A puddle of water is very tempting to a thirsty dog, but you should never, ever let your dog drink from puddles, regardless of the time of year. You have no idea what could be lurking in that nasty brown water.
“Puddles can contain a number of hazards, particularly when you are in the city – antifreeze, screen wash and salt can all be toxic to your dog if swallowed,” states DogTopics.com. Ingesting bacteria from puddles can cause a serious infection called leptospirosis.
The same goes for dogs living in the ‘burbs or the country: Do not let them drink from any puddle.
It’s So Cold, Even Polar Bears are Staying Inside
If the weather man is warning you to stay inside because it’s bone-chillingly, take-your-breath-away, freeze-your-tushie-off cold, then it’s probably wise to keep your dog inside as well. Just because you can’t walk your dog doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find some way to help him burn off some energy indoors. Play a game of hide-and-seek or race for the treat.
If your dog spends a lot of time outside
A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
Keep feral and stray cats warm
If there are ferals or strays in your neighborhood, remember that they need protection from the elements. It’s easy to give them shelter.
Look, Ma! It Glows in the Dark!
Winter brings with it longer nights and shorter days, which means you’ll most likely be walking your dog when it’s still dark or getting dark. Make sure you’re both wearing at least one piece of reflective clothing so drivers can see both of you. This can be something as simple as a reflective vest or collar – just make sure it’s clearly visible on your dog.
Dogs pretty much make any activity better, and just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you both can’t have fun. Use these tips and you and your dog will have a great time walking in a winter wonderland.
The best tip of all: keep your pets with you
Probably the best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time.
Our California Gang Adjusted to the Wyoming Snow Amazingly Well
Photos of a Few Quick Jaunts Into the Backyard…
Photos by PHOTO: EubankPhoto and the UCLA Shutterbug
In addition of keeping your pets warm and protected during the winter and the cold, good nutrition and some supplements are equally important: StemPet and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets
January 27, 2013 - Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | animal safety tips, cold, pet safety tips, pets in winter, winter
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Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
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As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!