If you plan on taking your dog on an outdoors adventure during the winter, there are a few things you need to do to ensure the safety of both yourself and your pet. For this reason, we have come up with a list of tips and advice for your winter adventures.
We have broken the tips into three sections, which you should be able to use as a guideline for your next outdoor adventure with your dog.
Before You Leave
Like any other trip you have taken before, you have to make sure you have everything you will need during your trip. Before leaving for your outdoor adventure, make sure to follow the tip below.
Check Ahead: This simply means you should make sure you check the weather report to make sure you aren’t going to get stuck in a storm. This is very important, especially in the winter, when temperatures can drop below freezing.
You should also check to make sure that dogs are allowed in the area you plan on going to, or else you will have to turn back around if dogs aren’t allowed. You should also find out if there are any leash laws in the area that can affect your trip.
Condition Your Dog: Like humans, dogs have fitness levels, which is why it is important that you plan a trip you know your dog can physically handle. You should also use this time to allow your dog to break in its winter boots, and make sure it’s used to them before you leave.
Emergency Situations: When going out with your dog, make sure that your dog is up to date with its medical shots and an identification tag is attached to its collar in case it wanders off during the trip.
Take Care of Your Dog’s Paw: While walking in the snow, ice can form on your dog’s paw, which can be very uncomfortable for your pet. To prevent this from happening, you should make sure you clip the hair between your dog’s toe and pads.
Clipping the hair also serves another purpose as the long hair between the pads reduces your dog’s traction, which can lead to the dog slipping on the ice.
Dog boots are highly recommended in these situations, but if you don’t have a pair, you can rub oil on and between the pads to prevent ice build-up.
Things To Look Out For
When you’re out on your adventure, these are some things you should be on the lookout for:
- Your dog wandering off
- Hunters in the woods (if it’s hunting season)
- Hurt paws due to ice build-up or rough terrain
- Lack of visibility (if there is a snow storm or fog)
- High altitudes (they are physically exhausting for your dog)
- Thin frozen ice
During The Adventure
While on your adventure, you should try to keep your dog hydrated.
You should protect your dog from the cold with a dog sweater if your dog isn’t used to cold temperatures.
Occasionally remove the dog boots to let your dog’s paws air out. It will also give you a chance to check for sore spots or abrasion.
Pack a lot of food and water for your dog to keep it energized and hydrated.
Make your dog visible by making sure the sweater you give it is bright enough to be seen from a distance in case it wanders off or is in an area where people hunt.
Avoid high-altitude areas if possible because dogs are susceptible to those areas. If a dog that hasn’t been exposed to high elevation is suddenly exposed to it, it will quickly become lethargic and dehydrated.
If you are feeling the effects of the high altitude, your dog is likely to be feeling the same effects.
If you are going to a high altitude area, make sure you take a lot of water with you because hydration reduces the effects of the high altitude.
Protect your dog from the winter elements by making sure it has enough layers of clothing to stay warm. Breeds with short, thin coats like Greyhounds and Boxers especially should be kept warm with clothing to prevent them from getting hypothermia or frostbite.
If your dog gets hypothermia, you can treat it by taking your dog to a shelter and covering it with blankets. You can also give the dog warm water and sugar to keep it warm. If that doesn’t work, you should take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Frostbite can be prevented by covering your dog’s susceptible areas.