The cold weather is upon us and there are a few things to keep in mind when walking your dog.

1) Depending where you live, some cities insist on over-salting, therefore making it really difficult for your pooch to walk and not be bothered by the salt. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the displeasure of actually touching wet salt on your bare hands but it burns like mad. I know a dog’s paws are constructed differently than our hands but the salt burns nonetheless. If you’re in an urban or even suburban area, you might want to purchase boots for your dog, or lather up the pads with petroleum jelly.
The smaller dogs tend to be more sensitive to the snow and ice as well so they might need boots or some form of protection regardless of the salt factor.

2) Unless you have a dog built for Northern weather, then it would be wise to invest in a sweater or coat. This will keep your dog warm and even provide protection from snow and sleet. Your dog will be much more excited to be outside if they have the added layer of warmth.

3) In extremely cold weather, keep the walk short. Basically take them out to do their business and head back inside. If you have access to an indoor venue that allows dogs then opt to exercise them there.

4) Do you have a high energy dog? Then I would greatly encourage the use of a backpack. A backpack is a great tool to make your dog focus more and adding weight will tire them out quicker. Even if you don’t have a high energy dog, a backpack is always beneficial. Adding weight to a backpack can double the benefit of the walk, therefore reducing the walk in half!

5) Pay attention to your dog’s body language. If they are shivering or lifting their paws, they’re clearly not comfortable and it’s time to head inside. On the same note, if you’re properly dressed and shivering, then it’s too cold for the both of you. Head indoors and play some mental games to drain your dog’s energy.

Every dog is different but they can all suffer from hypothermia if not properly cared for in the cold months. Pay attention to their body language and if your gut tells you it’s too cold to be outside, then follow your instincts!

Tonia has owned her own dog walking company and been a full-time professional dogwalker for over 4 years. She is a member of Pet Sitters International and the Pet Professional Guild (the Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals). She volunteers weekly at a local dog shelter where she gets to feed and spend time with many furry friends.
She started Dogwalker World to share her knowledge and passion about dogs and their natural instinct to walk and explore. She believes (and knows) that walking your dog can be a fun activity that will only strengthen your bond with them. This website is her dedication to you to ensure that you find the tools and advice necessary to make walking your dog a success!

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