Hiking with a dog during winter provides a string of benefits. It keeps a dog and its owner in good shape while enhancing their mental stimulation. The sounds, smells, and sights in the snow can make the pet more active in the cold. In addition, the activity can enhance the dog’s socializing and exploring skills. However, it also poses challenges, such as freezing temperatures, blizzards, and other winter hazards.
Suppose you’re planning to take your dog on a winter hike for the first time. In that case, you must read this article for its tips and tricks. This way, you can make the most of your time and effort hiking with your dog. So, read on!
- Keep Dogs In Proper Winter Wear
Despite the fun that winter provides for dogs, it can still harm dogs in many ways. If you’re hiking with your dog in the snow, you must have your pet wear a suitable outfit for the cold. Dogs with thick coats may no longer need protective vests during the hike. On the other hand, the less furry ones should wear something that could provide extra protection, such as a hoodie or vest.
The snow and the harsh cold condition can cause chapping in the dog’s paws. It may lead to worse conditions if ignored. To prevent it, wearing dog booties and similar footwear is necessary. You may look into Neewa Dogs and other companies to choose footwear and winterwear that suits your dog’s needs. As a pet owner, you must consider the qualities of the clothing, such as waterproofing, thickness, and comfort.
- Check The Hazards
Before you let your pet out in the snow, you need to check the dangers in the area. You must identify the spaces where loose packs of ice are located. You may also need to consider the thinness of the ice on the lake and other snow-covered water forms. If you’re near mountainous terrain, refrain from going near avalanche-prone areas.
If you’re with a pup, always consider leashing them. If you’re with a fully grown dog, you may let your pet run freely in the snow as long as they’re within your sight. Still, you can use different types of dog gear that’d keep the dogs protected against risks. Check neewadogs.com and similar websites for this. Apart from the physical hazards, you may also think about the weather or temperature drop over time. If it goes too cold for your dog, it’s never a wrong idea to pack up and go home.
- Stay Flexible
Staying flexible means that you can cancel your hiking plan if the condition seems harsher than what you expected. It also means you must consider how your pet behaves before and during hiking in the snow. Dogs can sense danger because of their keen eyesight and superb sense of smell. Therefore, you should consider their instinct in deciding when to leave or stay out in the winter.
In addition, staying flexible can also mean changing your route when hiking, if necessary, as hazards may be anywhere. Lastly, a hiking-with-a-dog checklist should be prepared and carried during the hike.
- Hydrate Properly
Keep your dogs hydrated during winter, especially during a hike. Physical activities consume much of the dog’s energy the same way it does for us humans. Because of this, drinking enough water is necessary. As a rule of thumb, dogs should take at least 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. And they must take more than this when they’re under medication.
Since you’re incessantly moving during the hike, you must consider buying a slim, lightweight water bottle for your dog. Remember to keep your bottles in an insulated bottle jacket if you don’t have an insulated bottle to keep them from freezing. To ensure safety, pick a product that’s BPA-free. Stainless steel water bottles are also ideal if you prefer easy-to-clean options. Lastly, it should have a quick-release button and dog-friendly features for easy drinking.
- Consider The Dog’s Tolerance
Many factors affect your dog’s tolerance. These include but are not limited to breed, size, and activity level. Delve into the following if you want to choose the perfect hiking dog for you:
Some of the best breeds for the cold weather are Tibetan Terrier, Akita, Siberian Husky, and Saint Bernard. Generally, they have a thick coat that insulates their bodies against the cold and unique paws that have excellent traction in the snow.
In many cases, larger dogs can better adjust to the cold than their smaller counterparts. It is probably because of the volume of muscles and fur that warm them up. In hindsight, small dogs generally have poor tolerance to the cold and are prone to sickness.
- Activity Level
Some dogs can prevail better in a cold climate than other dogs. In many cases, active dogs can have a better disposition in the cold than the passive types. If you want to make your passive dog active, you may try to prepare them for the season and hike by bringing them outside your house for short walks and playtime.
- Bring Dog Food And Treats
Excellent nutrition is vital in keeping dogs active, healthy, and safe during a winter hike. Hence, you should bring essential dog food and treats for the activity. Besides, dog food and treats prompt the classical conditioning approach that keeps dogs obedient to their owners.
Hiking with a dog during winter can be daunting and tiring because of the potential hazards that the cold gives. Fortunately, this article can help dog owners manage their dogs through the hurdles in the activity. While this guide doesn’t guarantee that a dog owner won’t have issues with his pet, it’ll still provide tips and tricks that’d simplify the hike with a dog in the cold.