As the nights start to draw in and the weather gets colder and wetter, walking our dogs can become less of a fun outing and more of a chore. From late October it will be dark after work for most of us and not much lighter in the mornings, and from December there can often be frost or even snow on the ground.
As many as half of us admit to walking our dogs less in the winter months, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With a little preparation, winter walkies can be as much fun as a summer stroll, and there are always alternatives on the coldest and wettest of days, such as a dog day care centre. Here’s our quick guide to walking your dog in winter.
Cold Weather Walks
Walking your dog on a crisp frosty day can be invigorating, especially if there is a spectacular hoar frost or snow on the ground. Just remember to wrap your dog up the same way as you wrap up yourself, especially if your dog is a short haired breed. Dog coats may take a little getting used to at first, but they will appreciate them in the long run.
If there’s snow or ice around, take extra care about letting your dog off their lead. Snow can hide a host of dangers and iced over ponds can easily give way under the weight of a large dog, with disastrous consequences. You also need to keep a closer eye on your dog to make sure they are comfortable. If they start shivering or seem reluctant to go on, that’s a good sign that they’re cold and ready to head home.
Dark Dog Walks
Inevitably you will have to walk your dog in the dark in the winter, so make sure you’re well prepared. You may need to change your route and routine, as letting them run off in the park is no longer an option if you can’t see where they’ve gone. Use the opportunity to explore your local area on lead walks. It can be great fun to see all the Christmas lights in your neighbourhood that you’d normally drive right past without noticing.
Make sure both you and your dog can be seen, especially if you live in a more rural area with less street lighting. Buy a light-up collar and a reflective coat so others can see your dog (and you can see him too if he runs off). Make sure your dog is microchipped and that your details are up to date, as you’re much more likely to lose a dog in the dark.
There are always going to be days when even the most dedicated dog owners will not want to venture out, but that doesn’t mean your dog misses out on exercise. Use the time you would’ve walked to play actively with your dog to keep them stimulated and break up their day. Play tug-of-war with a rope toy or build an assault course out of cushions and furniture.
If they do miss out during the week, make it up to them with a longer walk in the daylight of the weekend.
If you feel like your dog is seriously missing out on exercise and activity during the winter months, you can always enrol them in a dog day care centre such as A&T Trained Dogs. A dog day care centre in Lancaster gives them loads of stimulation and exercise, and it means you don’t have to go out again when you get home on a cold dark night. As well as offering fully trained dogs for sale and family protection dogs for sale, A&T can offer dog socialisation classes that benefit both your dog and you as the owner. Talk to our friendly team today and see how we can help you and your dog get through the winter with ease.