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How to safely walk your dog in winter in 10 rules

Woman walking with Shiba Inu in snow

10 tips to keep your pet safe when out on a walk.

© WildStrawberry - Shutterstock

Walking your dog in the snow in winter isn’t always fun. However, whether it's very cold or snowing, these walks are essential to your dog’s physical and mental well-being. Here are some precautions you should take so that your pooch can enjoy it and so can you!

By Emilie Heyl

Updated on the

The cold is finally making a comeback in the UK, but with seasonal temperatures, it is not always easy to find the motivation to take your pet outside. And yet, this is essential for his happiness and his health, he needs to go for a walk and even if it is freezing, windy or snowy, he must go for walks!

You will therefore equip yourself accordingly by putting on your winter boots, a big sweater, as well as a very warm jacket. But did you forget something? Yes indeed, you must also equip your dog because he does not like the cold either!

Of course, if you have a Husky or a Nordic dog breed, he won't have a problem coping with the cold. A Dachshund will be more inclined to want to stay warm, or to go out for a really short moment to defecate. However, whether it is a Husky or any other breed, it is essential to walk him but also to equip him when the cold is back.

Walking your dog in winter requires a little more organisation and anticipation than in spring! But it is still quite possible and enjoyable, provided you do it right!

Here are 10 rules to follow for the well-being of your pooch this winter.

1. Don't stop walking your dog just because it’s the winter

The first rule is to continue taking your dog out for walks. It is important that your dog defecates outside and also exercises. Let your pooch smell everything around him, run, go meet other dogs, even if it is cold!

2. Go for shorter walks but take your dog out more often

If you or your dog are really having a hard time coping with the cold, you can walk your furry friend for shorter periods in winter, but you should take him out more often in the day. For example, instead of two thirty-minute walks, take your dog five or six times for ten minutes.

But be careful: if your dog does not have enough time to let off steam outside or exercise, he will have to compensate with playtime moments at home!

Note that it is possible to walk your dog at night, even in winter, but you should try to plan daytime walks - even if they are shorter - one, to avoid exposing your dog to very low temperatures, and two so that he can enjoy the benefits of sunlight, just like you!

3. Put a winter coat on your dog during winter walks

Should you put a coat on your dog in winter? This is a question many dog owners ask themselves. Wearing a coat sometimes seems ridiculous but it can be very useful, especially for small dogs, short-haired dog breeds or fragile dogs. (old, very young or sick dogs).

Opt for a warm, fleece or padded coat to keep your dog warm. Some coats even cover dogs' legs. The coat can be a good way of keeping your dog from getting sick.

4. Make sure your dog and yourself are visible, especially at night

If you are used to taking your dog out after your day at work, there is a high chance that the night will have fallen by this time. It is therefore extremely important to ensure your safety, but also your dog’s safety by making your pooch clearly visible to others and to you.

You will also need to be visible and the best way to do so is to dress in light-colored clothing and / or wear a neon safety vest. For your pet, there are several bright and / or reflective accessories that come in different sizes. If your dog wears a black or dark coat, these accessories are all the more important.

5. (Always) Be careful with parasites

In the winter, most dog owners tend to forget about ticks, fleas and other parasites and therefore don’t always think about prevention. While it is true that these parasites are rarer in the cold season, they can experience an increase in activity at the slightest warmth. So continue to treat your animals against parasites and inspect their coats after walking in a risk area, even in winter.

6. Protect your dog’s paws pads

Imagine walking barefoot in the snow or on frozen asphalt ... For your dog's paws, it's the same, and they are put to the test: the snow and salt that is scattered on the sidewalks burn terribly.

To protect their paw pads, you can coat them with a protective / repairing balm or opt for homemade remedies. Note that there are also small slippers specially designed for dog’s paw pads but they still have to tolerate them!

7. Don't let your dog eat snow

When walking your dog in the snow, make sure your dog doesn’t eat snow. It might be funny for him, but it's not a good idea: it could cause gastrointestinal disorders, and in particular gastroenteritis.

8. Don't let your dog run on ice

Is your dog used to swimming in water but they are frozen? For his safety, do not allow your dog to walk on ice: it could break and your dog could fall into the frozen water, and he could be trapped under the ice. That is super dangerous!

9. Play more with your dog in addition to its winter walks

The more activity your dog has, the more he will be able to keep warm. Do not hesitate to make him run and throw a toy at him so that he can move and warm up. And you too, at the same time! This is the key to successful walks in winter.

10. When you both come home, make sure you dry your dog

If your dog gets wet when he comes back from a walk, dry him with a towel or a hair dryer (especially their paws, stomach and ears). If his coat stays wet, your dog could catch a cold. Take the opportunity to check your dog’s paw pads’ condition, especially before going out for a new winter walk!

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