Let’s be honest. If you’re not a fan of winter, you probably find it highly unpleasant to walk your dog during the cold and snowy months of the year. At least, that’s how I feel. I don’t enjoy being out in the elements at all, and avoiding daily walks is easy when it’s cold outside.
But regardless of the weather, our mutts need regular exercise and fresh air, and it’s on us to make sure they get what they need.
So no matter how cold it is, no matter how much snow is on the ground, we’ve got to bundle up and suck it up for the good of our furry friends.
Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to make walking your dog in winter just a little more tolerable. Take a look at this cool infographic, and then we’ll chat some more below.
Great tips, right? I really believe that practicing each and every one of these steps can make dog walking during the winter just a little more pleasant for both you and your dog.
8 Steps to Walking Your Dog in Winter
1. Make sure you’re properly outfitted.
This means that you’re dressed to stay warm and dry, and you’re also comfortable. The North Face and Columbia make some of my favorite outdoor gear and let’s be honest: if you love what you’re wearing, you’re going to be more likely to venture out into the cold.
2. Put a jacket on your dog.
Seriously. They’re really no more equipped to be out in the cold than we are, so it stands to reason that if you need a coat, your dog does, too. There are so many choices when it comes to coats for dogs, and we like the Nor’easter from Kong. You might like it, too.
3. Protect your dog’s paws with booties or pet-safe products like Soothe & Shield Paw Balm from Only Natural Pet.
My Nike most certainly won’t wear booties (they’d be so helpful with her grass allergies in the summer!), which is why I like a product like Soothe & Shield, which is perfect for year-round use.
4. Use a harness when walking your dog.
Nike wears one every single day, and we love the Puppia soft harness. She’s got red, pink, purple, and blue, so she’s always color-coordinated and she’s safe too, which is the most important thing.
5. Use a solid leash, not a retractable one.
I hear and read so many bad things about retractable leashes, and I just don’t think they’re safe. Instead, choose a high quality leather or nylon leash.
6. Make sure your dog’s clothing stays dry.
You wouldn’t want to walk around in a wet coat, and neither does your dog. If either of you get wet, cut your walk short and get indoors.
7. Avoid hazards like frozen ponds.
You’d think this goes without saying but the truth is, every winter you hear about someone falling through the ice on a frozen pond or lake. It’s not safe for you, and it’s not safe for your dog – no matter how cold it is outside. Don’t take a chance – keep off the ice!
8. When you return home, wash your dog’s paws.
The chemicals in the ice melts and salt used on sidewalks and streets can be toxic to pets. Yuck, be sure to wash it away. Then apply a little of my homemade paw balm to soften those tooties.
And most importantly, as the infographic suggests, pay attention to your dog. If she doesn’t want to go for a long walk, that’s okay. Just do a quick potty break and get right back inside to the warmth of your home. You can always find fun things to do inside to keep her entertained on those really cold days.
Your turn: Can you think of any other tips to make dog walking in the winter just a little more tolerable? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below, or feel free to stop by my Facebook page and join in the conversation there!