Walking your dog during the winter months can be a challenge.
First you have to get all bundled up, and then once you’re outside there are unique challenges depending on the weather conditions.
Here are 7 precautions you should take to keep your pet safe and warm when dog walking during the winter.
1. Avoid Metal
Some people hear the advice to avoid going near metal when taking their dog for a walk in the winter and wonder why it is so important.
Here’s why: In urban areas, sometimes metal has corroded electrical wires hidden underneath. If your pup touches a piece of metal with old wires that has moisture from snow, he may get electrocuted.
Of course, there’s also a risk that your dog will lick a very cold metal object and get his tongue stuck!
2. Stay Away From Snowdrifts
Snowdrifts form rapidly and can cover anything. Your dog may land on top of a covered garbage bag full of sharp objects or a similar hazard.
If you want your pet to experience the joy of running through snow piles and you have a small yard, go to a park or somewhere you know is safe.
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3. Careful With Ice
Just as ice is incredibly slippery for humans, the same is true for dogs. So be careful when crossing an icy path. Go slowly to make sure your dog doesn’t slip, and don’t let him run across.
4. Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Snow
It’s no secret that dogs tend to eat whatever they find — and as tempting as snow looks and as harmless as it seems, this can be a bad idea. Snow may contain chemicals, and it’s possible that sharp objects (or other harmful ones that could be swallowed) are hidden in the snow.
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5. Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Antifreeze
Most pet parents know that dogs shouldn’t eat antifreeze, but this risk increases during the winter months, especially when you go on a walk and pass areas that may have this dangerous chemical.
6. Sweaters and Booties
If you have a small dog or one with short fur, consider getting either a coat or a sweater for the dog to wear during winter walks. Chihuahuas, greyhounds, whippets, miniature pinschers and similar dogs don’t have long enough fur coats or enough body heat to stay warm, so they may need an extra layer.
Most dogs have little fur on their feet, so consider getting doggie booties for walks. Not only will these help keep the paws warm, but they can also offer protection. Booties give dogs a better grip and prevent them from accidentally stabbing themselves on objects buried under the snow.
Remember to give your dog time to adjust to booties; otherwise you might find your pooch in a hilarious compilation such as this one:
7. Pay Attention
Even if your dog is wearing a coat or sweater and booties, there is a good chance he will start to get cold if he is outside for too long. So keep a close eye on him throughout your entire walk. If your pup starts to shake or shiver, it is a sign that he is too cold and needs to go home.