Winter Walking: Tips for a Great Winter with Your Pet
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Winter Walking: Tips for a Great Winter with Your Pet

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 by Linda Rosado

Winter Walking Tips for PetsThe candy stash is almost gone, pumpkins have begun to vanish from front porches and the nights have gotten longer. Even though winter doesn't technically begin until December 21st, it's beginning to feel a lot like the coldest season is upon us.

Whether you live in Alaska or Florida, the temperature will be dropping which means your dog might be getting ready to go winter mode.

Here are some tips to make this winter season a great one for you and your best friend.

Stay Active and In Shape

Colder weather means slower bodies. Not only will owners feel more lethargic, dogs will noticeably begin to sleep more to conserve energy. Sleep is something we all love, but to make sure your pet is staying healthy use these ideas to keep their mind and body in top shape.

  • Teach your dog a new trick. They're never too old to learn something new, maybe just more stubborn. A healthy reward should keep their motivation strong.
  • Keep their social life alive by going to dog parks or sign them up for a class. The indoors will make them feel isolated, so try out an obedience or swimming class that lets them socialize.
  • Go old school and take them for a walk. Nothing beats the great outdoors, but if you really just don't feel like braving the cold, it's a perfect opportunity to train them to use that treadmill from last New Year's resolution. 
  • Have some fun with games. Let them smell a treat and hide it for them to search out. Classic tug of war and fetch work great too, anything to keep them entertained.

Layer Up and Keep Warm

Use proper judgment when determining what level of bundling your dog will need. Long hair doesn't guarantee they're built for cold weather, but it certainly helps retain warmth more than short coats. Size matters too, so use short walks to gauge what you pet can handle and adjust from there.

  • As goofy as they may look, coats work. On a husky they can actually be too much warmth, but for a boxer it might be the perfect addition to keep them comfortable. 
  • Boots are tricky because many dogs don't like them, but give it a try and find out for yourself. The benefits are less of the outdoors getting tracked into your house, and their paws with stay nice and toasty against the freezing ground.
  • The inside of your house can get cold too, so consider a light sweater for your dog and make sure to stockpile extra blankets in their bed. And we all love warm sheets right out of the dryer so treat them to fresh blankets every now and then as well.

Safety:
Winter brings cold, but also caution. A winter wonderland can presents new trouble that should be kept in mind.

  • Consider a pre-winter check up with the vet to make sure your dog is healthy going into the season. Being proactive can help keep your dog healthy all season long.
  • Always keep your dog on a leash when outside. For one, you definitely don't want to be chasing a runaway in the freezing cold, but a dog on a leash is one you can control. This avoids them eating dangerous snow and jumping into streets with icy surfaces.
  • Keep your pet healthy by feeding them a little more food on strenuous days where they'll burn more calories and lose heat quickly, and feed them less on lazy days that are slept away. Your dog's holiday weight is in your control so help them prevent it.
  • Wipe your pet's paws when they come in from outdoors. Harmful salts and chemicals may be on them, so this both prevents discomfort and also keeps your floors tidy.

Use these tips to keep everyone happy over the holidays. That way, your spring season will start off with a bang rather than be wasted on recovery. In addition to the guide above, always make sure to clean up after your pets. Even though snow may hide their poop, it does not magically disappeared. At first it freezes, but once the sun begins to melt the snow all of the poop that has added up will begin to thaw and contaminate the ground. Look out for DOGIPOT® Pet Stations equipped with DOGIPOT SMART Litter Pick Up Bags™ and help keep your community clean with good winter habits.

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