The cold weather doesn’t mean you have to stop walking your furry friend, but you do have to be cautious; not only for them but for you!
Below are some tips to keep you and your dog safe during these chilly times. I’ve also include a few products you might find helpful!
1. Bundle up with layers! You need to stay warm but if you plan on doing vigorous walking you want to try to keep your sweating to a minimum while keeping warm. I don’t normally post people products but I have a few absolutely fantastic products that I can’t do without for my winter walking!
- My absolute favorite piece of winter head gear is a product made by a company called “Buff”. They have quite a number of different products but I’m partial to the Wool and Polar Buffs. They are extremely versatile and you can change how you wear it depending on what you’re doing and the conditions outside. You can wear it as a scarf, a hat (in different variations), a headband, a mask, or a full coverage balaclava. It’s soft on the skin, washable, and extremely warm. It comes in a wide variety of colors and ranges in price between $20 – $30 depending on which Buff you buy (I have the Wool which ran around $29). My favorite feature though has to be how versatile and lightweight it is! I often wear mine with another hat for layering.
- Buff also makes the same product for dogs with the added visibility of a 3M Scotchlite strip. The material is breathable, quick drying, has moisture wicking, and technology for active odor control. Again, it’s extremely versatile and can be worn and used on your dog in a number of different ways. At $11.00 it’s an great investment for your dog.
2. Keep dry. This goes both for you AND your pet. If you get wet you’re more likely to get sick and develop hypothermia. This will be a bigger issue when the weather starts to warm and the snow starts to melt. Keep your dog out of the puddles!
- Ruffwear sells a fantastic line of dog coats for all seasons. Their Quinzee is a lightweight jacket to protect even in extreme weather. It’s probably their heaviest winter piece but they also offer lighter options and even sell summer cooling jackets.
3. Wipe their paws! While you might not use any salt or de-icer (or use a pet friendly one) most people do not worry about what they’re putting down or how the chemicals will affect animals. These melting agents can irritate paws well after your walk has concluded. Be sure to wipe their paws immediately upon entering the house. Even better is to be prepared and wipe the paws off before entering the house to ensure you leave the chemicals behind.
- Another option is to purchase a set of ‘paw wear’. I would recommend Ruffwear’s Polar Trex which has winter traction and insulation. Your dog’s paws will stay warm and provides them a little extra help in moving on ice and snow. At $89.95 for a set of 4, it’s an investment you’ll want to make only if you do a ton of outside walking or hiking in the winter.
4. Do not… I repeat… do not under any circumstance allow your dog to drink water from sidewalks, roadways or puddles while you’re out no matter how clear they look. Leaks from cars that contain anti-freeze is highly toxic and deadly to your pet. You may not be able to see it’s there so best to wait for water until you’re home safe or carry your own water with you.
You can purchase the Buff, Polar Trex or Quinzee directly from the manufacturer’s site. Buff is also available for purchase at REI (and potentially other outdoor stores).