Pick a trail that is dog friendlyStart with shorter, easier hikes and walks. Observe your pup and if all is good with them, gradually increase duration. Much like humans, dogs exert extra energy walking in the snow. Picture walking in the sand on a beach and remember how much harder it is to walk? Snow, especially the fresh powder type, is very similar, and therefore takes extra energy to walk on it.
Bring the right supplies
- A collar or harness and leash. Always have your pup on a leash and under control when exploring outdoors.
- Water and a collapsible bowl.
- Waste bags to clean up after your dog.
- Treat pouch to store supplies in as well as some soft, easy to chew treats. This treat pouch has a built-in compartment for waste bags as well as several pockets for clicker, phone, keys, 1st aid supplies, etc.
- Dog booties will keep your pups paws warm and dry. Remember to get your dog acclimated to their new booties in advance of your outdoor adventures.
- Sweater or jacket to give your dog an extra layer of protection.
Watch for health dangersIt is important to know your dog’s limits. Short-coated, thin, small breed, young, and elderly dogs tend to get cold more quickly. Monitor you dog’s
overall condition to look for signs of whining, slowing down, shivering, limping, or downright stopping because these can all be indications that something may be wrong, so be aware and check in with your pup often.
A general temperature rule of thumb is if it is too cold outside for you, it is most likely too cold for your dog.
o According to Canine Journal, most dogs can tolerate temperatures above 45°F pretty well.
o Below 45°F, dogs may start to feel uncomfortable.
o Temperatures below freezing (32°F), you should monitor your dog carefully.
o Temperatures below 20°F, all dogs are prone to cold related health conditions such as hypothermia.
Be aware of general hazards
Steer clear of lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, or any body of water, which can crack with pressure on it causing you or your pup to fall into the frigid water below.
Snow can be dangerous for dogs to eat because it can lower their body temperature. Besides that, it can contain harmful chemicals that may be toxic to dogs or hidden objects that are unsafe. Musher’s Secret is super to have with you on hikes in the cold, icy months. Rub it on those adorable paws and between their toes to keep ice from accumulating. It is can also be applied to your pups’ lower legs to keep ice from forming and sticking to their fur.
After your hike, wipe your dog’s paws to remove any chemicals that may have gotten on their paws, give them a good towel dry, make some hot chocolate (for yourself, of course), and cuddle up together!
Remember that dogs want to please their owners and often push through pain. It’s up to you to be aware of your dog’s abilities and limitations, and to recognize unusual behaviors in your dog that may be indications of pain or fatigue. Above all be safe, stay warm, and have a paw-some time wherever your adventure leads you!