Winter walks with your dog can be a challenging experience. Cold weather, ice and even snow can make a 10-minute walk feel like a marathon. However, by listening to your dog and using the right equipment, a winter walk doesn’t have to be something to fear.
Company of Animals, leading dog training and behaviour experts, has put together five tips to help you and your dog have safe and fun walks together this winter.
Walking your dog when the sun is out can become almost impossible in winter, so it’s important to be prepared for the dark walking conditions. Both you and your dog should wear reflective gear so that you can be easily seen by drivers or cyclists as you walk along the pavement. The Halti walking range is the perfect choice for staying visible, as it has a reflective strip woven into the fabric of the lead.
Long walks aren’t always better
Shorter days often result in shorter walks but this doesn’t mean less fun; your dog still needs mental and physical stimulation to keep him happy. Try giving your dog his meals in food dispensing toys to keep his brain busy.
Another good alternative is to use winter-time to teach your dog some new tricks. Clicker training is a great way to teach new habits and tricks and it can easily be carried out indoors! Small dogs and those with thinner coats may feel the cold much more so consider investing in a warm coat for your dog to keep him snug and warm this winter.
Walk, don’t ice skate!
Ice can be dangerous when walking by yourself, let alone while walking a dog. Walking in the dark can make this especially treacherous especially as both you and your pup are less likely to see what’s up ahead. Having the correct lead is icy conditions is therefore vital. The Halti Double Ended Lead has three adjustable lengths, and when it’s icy it’s best to put it on the shortest length. This gives you more control over your dog and keeps them close to heel.
Don’t forget about feet
Dogs use their foot pads for traction when it’s icy, so nails need to be kept short. Long nails can cause your dog to slide and fall, as his ability to grip is hindered. It’s also important to ensure his feet are cleaned and dried on your return to ensure that wet, mud and salt doesn’t cause irritation to his sensitive feet.
Moisturising your dog’s paws with dog-safe moisturiser is a great way to help soothe and protect them for the dry and irritated skin that can arise during the colder months.
Don’t pile on the pounds
Like us, less exercise means less calories burned off. If your dog is getting less exercise than usual then consider reducing his food intake accordingly; switch to a ‘light’ version of his regular meal or reduce the amount you feed him and supplement with some raw fruit & vegetables such as carrot, cucumber, sweet potato and apple slices to keep your dog feeling full.
Ensure that training treats are also taken into consideration when working out your dog’s daily food intake.
With all these tips in mind you’ll be sure to keep both you and your dog happy, safe and healthy this winter; ready for many more outdoor adventures come spring.