Walking our dogs outdoors can be a big challenge for those of us who live in places where winter means snow. Snow brings new obstacles that make things difficult – and sometimes dangerous – for dogs.
As winter draws near, make sure your dog is as safe and comfortable as possible on cold, snowy walks.
Having experienced the adverse effects of Midwestern winters firsthand during my time as a professional dog walker in Chicago, I’ve come up with some tips for pet parents and their pups to stay safe in the snow.
You’ll want to bundle up in the snow, but just because your dog has a fur coat provided by Mother Nature doesn’t mean they can always do without extra layers.
Different breeds tolerate snow differently, and it’s essential to do your research before letting your pup play in it. Chihuahuas will not handle cold weather and snow as well as huskies.
There are plenty of coats for any breed of dog that is easy to put on and take off. Just make sure you take measurements and get the right size. If you are unsure of your dog’s breed and snow tolerance, it is best to play safely.
Shovel And Use Pet Safe Ice Melt
Before you head out, make things easier on you and your pup. Even though they’re on four legs, they can still slip and fall on icy stairs or walkways just like you.
Shovel the area outside your door and get a pet-safe ice melt to prevent ice from forming.
It’s important NOT to use regular de-icing salt, as salt creates a reaction with ice that burns paws. These burns can be fairly severe if the salt isn’t removed right away, and at the very least, it will cause your pup a lot of discomforts.
Paw protection is essential for protecting your dog from the salt used to melt ice on streets and sidewalks.
Dog boots or paw wax can prevent paw pads from suffering. Dogs need salt protection more than snow and ice, but it’s also important to prevent frostbite.
This also applies to humans. Your hands or feet may go numb as you walk and hold the leash, and you may not realize the level of danger you are in. Always wear gloves and boots to keep snow from accumulating around your feet or getting wet.
A towel by the door will not only keep your home from becoming a mess, but it will also help you keep your dog dry and warm. It also allows you to remove some of the snow stuck to your pup’s fur, which can keep your dog cooler for longer after a walk.
Will you take your puppy for a walk in the snow in winter? Do you have any tips for walking your dog in the snow? Let us know in the comments below!
Harper Harrison is a reporter for The Hear UP. Harper got an internship at the NPR and worked as a reporter and producer. harper has also worked as a reporter for the Medium. Harper covers health and science for The Hear UP.