10 tips for walking your pet in winter

While it's technically still fall here on the North Island, Winter is not far behind. We have been getting crazy weather this year, so today, for Take a Hike Day, I thought I'd share a few tips for walking your furkids around in winter. I hope these tips help you and your furkids stay safe and warm while out enjoying our beautiful North Island as we transition from fall into winter.

  1. Plan ahead: make sure you plan your day according to the weather and daylight available to you that day.

  2. Look for cues from your pup: different breeds have different tolerances to cold and wet weather, so watch them and see if they're getting cold, like whining, paw licking, and shivering.

  3. Keep it short: Due to the colder and often wetter weather, be sure to keep it as quick as possible to keep them and yourself warm.

  4. Wipe + moisturize their paws: Many people use a lot of toxic things in winter, from stuff to keep our vehicles running, to de-icing materials on sidewalks and driveways and everything in between. So be sure to wipe your pet's paws when you return home and as an added kindness, try adding some moisturizer to their paws as well, like a lovely Paw Balm.

  5. Wear a coat, sweater, or boots - bundle up: Not unlike us, many pets don't do well in the colder weather, so especially, if you have a smaller breed or a short-haired breed, be sure to add on a warm sweater or jacket, and if your pup can, add some booties to keep those paws safe as well.

  6. Use reflectors + stay visible: While planning ahead for walks during daylight is best, if you have to walk during the dark, be sure to stay visible. Remember the darkness comes earlier, so be sure to keep you and your pet visible by using reflectors and lights on you and your pet to ensure any traffic or pedestrians see you.

  7. Walk during the daylight: If possible, walk your pup during the day.

  8. Limit their snow intake: Some pups love to eat the snow. However, with so many toxins used to de-ice and melt the snow, as well as any number of other things that hide in the snow, make sure Fido doesn't eat (or at least overeat) the snow.

  9. Keep eyes peeled for frostbite: In winter it's easy for us and our furkids to get frostbite. Make sure you know what frostbite looks like on your pup. Watch their ears, nose, footpads, and tail, as these are the most common places for frostbite to occur on dogs. Frostbitten skin is cold, pale, and hard, and it often turns red and puffy after it warms a bit. If you suspect your dog has frostbite, apply a warm, not hot, rag to the affected area once inside and cover with a blanket and if you need help, never hesitate to call your local vet.

  10. Try to add in other alternate indoor activities: Try signing up for an indoor class with your dog or using an indoor walking area for days that it is just too cold (or wet) to go for a walk outdoors.

Did you like these tips? Do you have more great tips? Be sure to share them in the comments section below and lets work together to keep all our North Island furkids safe and cozy this winter, despite the crazy weather!