Trupanion dog-walkers pound the pavement every day, whether rain, shine, or snow. With upwards of 70 dog walks a day, they are the experts on avoiding winter hazards while around Trupanion HQ. We sat down with our pet program manager, J. Marmol, to dish on the top ten recommended winter dog walking tips to keep our furry friends safe and dry on their daily walk.
J’s top ten recommended winter dog walking tips
1) Weather-appropriate shoes
It is important to have slip-resistant and water-proof shoes for the pet, as well as the dog-walker. The winter specific shoe will supply extra warmth and protect the paw from snow and ice.
2) Layers for dog-walker and pet
Another great winter attire tip would be to wear layers for the pet and dog-walker. Due to climate change, when going from a warm office environment to freezing cold outside, can be harsh for some pets. Having layers on can help keep them warm on the dog walk.
3) Be wary of salt
Salt is toxic to dogs, so make sure to wipe paws after dog walk. In addition, clean paws with a wet rag, to avoid any toxicity risk if the dog licks paws. In fact, there are pet-safe salt options that you can buy for extra safety measures. Beware of salt, this is a winter dog walking tips must-do.
4) Shorter dog walks
With cold temperatures and unpredictable weather during winter months, it’s best to keep to shorter dog walks for the comfort and care of the pup.
5) Monitor dog’s behavior
Be mindful of a dog’s behavior while out walking in winter. For instance, a dog could pick up after another dog, drink puddles, or pick up food in the snow. Also, be mindful of a furry friend potentially eating salt. Certainly, the snow is mysterious and exciting to some dogs, but their curiosity could get the best of them.
6) Knowing your pet’s comfort zone
If your pet is not used to being in a cold environment, pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain. Naturally, if your pet seems uncomfortable, shorten the walk and try again later.
7) Always have supplies
Always carry extra supplies, such as extra doggy bags, flashlight, an umbrella. Especially if you are on a long walk, you never know when this winter dog walking tip might come in hand.
8) Stay focused
Stay alert to any hazards in the area. In particular ice on sidewalks and roads, loose dogs, and general activity on the roads. Always keep your dog on a leash, harness or belt for extra security.
9) Reactivity triggers
If your pup is not used to the cold weather, and might not be too keen on a winter wonderland. Watch for dogs who could potentially dart due to the weather conditions. Likewise, any falling snow or ice could result in the pet becoming scared and want to run.
10) Sliding Ice
Be mindful of pups that could slide or fall on icy walkways. With the potential of snow covering ice, slip resistant shoes would be useful to avoid any accidents.
By having weather appropriate clothing, monitoring your dog’s behavior, and stay attuned to your environment these winter dog walking tips can provide a safe and fun walk during this winter season.