With Winter here, we need to make sure we’re a little more prepared for our outdoor adventures. A little bit of snow and cold won’t stop us from walking our dogs, so here is a list of 10 items needed for walking your dog in the Winter.
1. Paw Safe Salt
Even though our dogs have greater balance than us, it’s still good to take all safety precautions to avoid any risk of injury and discomfort, especially on ice. For your icy driveways, walkways, and stairs, consider using pet-safe salt and products to reduce the slip on the ground. Pet salt can cost a bit more, so be sure to look out for sales or use other safe alternatives such as sand to reduce slip.
Sometimes walking in salt is difficult to avoid in public areas and sidewalks. If this is the case, then make sure you have a cloth or something in your pocket that you can use to wipe your dog’s paws.
2. Paw Balm or Boots
For those salty sidewalks you can’t avoid, you can also purchase paw balm or boots to protect your dog’s paws. There are various paw wax and balm products on the market that will protect your dog’s paws from the salt and keep them moisturized from dryness. Boots are also another option to keep your dog’s paws warm and protected from the outdoor elements. You can purchase various kinds of styles and colors from your local stores or businesses or buy them online. Your dog is sure to be thankful for the comfort on their paws.
3. Proper Fitting Harness
A properly fitted harness is essential for any walk. For the winter season, a properly fitted harness will ensure that you are not being pulled and reduce the risk of slipping. There are various types of harnesses out there, so make sure you find the one that suits your walking needs and is comfortable for your dog.
4. Treat Pouch
Bringing treats for a walk is always a good idea. Whether you are currently training your dog or just going for a stroll, treats are still a good idea to bring if a new training opportunity presents itself. You can also use the treats for recall practice given a chance. A treat pouch can also keep your clothing and pockets clean without leaving any treat residue or crumbs and give you extra storage for your keys.
5. Boot Grips
We mentioned different ways for slip prevention for your dog; however, we humans need slip prevention too. Although salt won’t harm humans wearing boots, it would still be a smart consideration to invest in some boot grips. This would be especially useful for walkers that like to adventure through icy trails; however, all dog walkers in the winter should consider investing in a pair of good grips to prevent any injury from happening.
6. Lights and High Visibility
Winter days are short, and most of us finish work when it starts to get dark. For the safety of both you and your dog, make sure to wear some piece of reflective clothing on your body to be seen in the dark. There are a ton of reflective leash, harness and collar options for dogs in stores or online. Similarly, there are also a ton of options for lights to be attached to harnesses and collars so that your surrounding environment can see you walking your dog in those dark winter evenings.
7. Coats and Winter Attire
If you have a dog that is a short-haired breed or does not have a lot of body fat, it is essential to invest in a proper jacket for your dog to wear for outdoor walks. Although dogs have fur, some breeds still need help in keeping warm, especially in cold winters. Be sure to look for jackets at your local pet stores, or you can find them online to be shipped to you. Whichever coat you purchase your dog, they will be grateful and happy that you thought of them this cold winter season.
8. Pet Spa Appointments
Although you wouldn’t expect it, having your dog on a regular grooming schedule is important in the Winter. Baths are not necessary; however, nail clippings and maintaining fur length is important. In the Winter, your dog’s nails can break and chip walking on the ice, causing pain and discomfort. This is why it’s essential to keep their nails nice and trim.
Long-haired breeds can get snow clumped in their fur, causing them pain from the weight of the mass of the snow accumulated. Snow can also accumulate around their toes, leaving them uncomfortable to walk. Keeping these dogs groomed and brushed will reduce these problems.
The winter can be a wet season, depending on the temperature changes that year. Puddles can quickly form if the temperature drops by a bit, and fresh snow can turn to water once it lands on your dog’s fur due to the warmth of their body temperature. For these reasons, our dogs come back from their walk all wet, especially on their paws, legs and underbelly areas. This is why investing in a good towel is a smart move that will allow you to dry your dog off effectively and successfully in no time at all!
10. A Small First Aid Kit
You never know what you’ll encounter on your adventures! It’s better to be safe than sorry, so investing in or creating a small first aid kit for your dog is a smart thing to do. Your first aid kit should include a styptic pen, vet wrap, and some gauze pad. This would be especially recommended for longer outdoor adventures with your pup.
Having your dog prepared for the winter months is crucial. Hopefully, this list of items can help you put together and organize the most important things your dog needs this season. If you aren’t sure or have any questions, please contact us at Canine Citizen. If you need help with dog walking, check out our Adventure Dog Walks.