- Know Your Dog’s Limits: Tolerance to cold can vary based on coat, body fat, activity level, and health. You will likely need to shorten walks in very cold weather.
- Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Do not overfeed them!
TO WALK (Be Prepared): Don’t push it! 15 - 20 minutes in the freezing cold is plenty!
- Keep Nails Trimmed: Properly trimmed nails will increase traction!
- Protect Paws: The cold weather can cause cracked paws and bleeding from ice, salt, snow, etc. You can use boots on their paws for extra protection or petroleum jelly. Just make sure if those paws are bare or have jelly, that you wash or wipe them off well when you come back inside as they may pick up deicers, antifreeze or other toxic chemicals.
- Coats and Backpacks: If your dog has a shorter coat, consider an actual coat for extra warmth, but make sure it isn’t movement restricting. In addition, to get a bit more out of that shorter walk, add some weight. Put a backpack on your pup to get the most out of your walk and alleviate pent up energy.
- Prevent Pulling: Make sure to use your tools and collars to prevent any pulling if your dog is still training to heel. Pulling is especially dangerous for both you and “Fido” if there is the potential for ice.
NO WALK: How to get indoor exercise!
- Indoor Games: Hide-and-seek! You can play by hiding a treat or toy, but the best version is hiding yourself! Begin by throwing a treat or toy away from you and then go hide and tell your dog to “come.”
- Indoor Obedience: Practice basic and/or advanced obedience indoors!
- Classes: Go to class! Obedience, agility, swimming, etc. Classes allow for socialization and exercise.
- Treadmills: There are treadmills specifically designed for dogs, but you can use human ones as well, as long as you are careful to supervise your pup.
- Scent Work: Create an indoor obstacle course to make your dog work for their meal, with the food in a box or puzzle toy at the end.
WATCH FOR SIGNS OF HYPOTHERMIA AND FROSTBITE:
Please consult your veterinarian if you suspect your dog may have hypothermia or frostbite. Watch for increased whining, burrowing, shivering, weakness, anxiety or a significant slowing down/stopping of movement.
** This important blog post was written by our Lead Trainer: Mark Dunlap