No matter what the weather is, it’s a fact that dogs love to be outdoors. Whether it’s going for a walk in a sun-drenched park or playing a game of fetch in the snow, our furry friends are perfectly content as long as they get to stretch their legs and have some fun. However, walking or playing outdoors in the dead of winter can have a negative impact on your dog’s health. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, winter’s dry, cold air can cause your pet to have chapped paws and itchy skin, and in more serious cases, the cold can cause stomach problems and hypothermia in dogs. However, you don’t have to keep your four-legged friend cooped up indoors this winter to protect him from getting sick. Here are a few tips to keep your dog safe and healthy while walking in the snow.
Protect your dog’s paws
One of the most important things to remember while walking your dog in the snow is to keep your pet’s paws covered. Just like you wouldn’t venture out in the snow barefoot, your dog also needs to wear something to protect his paws. Socks and shoes or weatherproof booties will protect your dog’s paws from the icy ground. Bring along an extra set of booties so you can divest your dog of his wet booties at once. Before making your pet wear the booties, you may also want to trim the hair around his toes to prevent tiny snowballs from forming around the pads, which can be uncomfortable for your dog.
Always use a leash
It may be tempting to let your dog loose to play in the snow, but it’s advisable to use a leash while walking your pet. This prevents your dog from getting into accidents, such as falling into a partly frozen lake or pond. A leash also saves you the trouble of running after your pet in the snow just in case your dog decides to chase a car or another animal.
Let your dog wear a coat
Your dog may have a thick coat, but that doesn’t mean that he’s protected from the chilly weather. Let your dog wear a sweater or a coat before heading outdoors to keep him comfy and cozy.
Wash your dog’s paws after your walk
After spending time out in the snow, the first thing that you have to do is to wash your dog’s paws carefully with a rag dipped in warm water. While you’re at it, clean his underside too. The path where you walked on could be covered in antifreeze, and this type of chemical can be harmful to your dog’s health. You may also want to check your pet’s paws for any abrasions after every walk.
Follow these tips to keep your dog safe while walking in the snow. Not only will your pet have a great time outdoors, but he also gets to stay healthy during the cold winter months.