If you and your dog are an active pair that don’t like to be cooped up inside even on cold winter days, hiking can be a great way to let out some energy! While it may seem obvious to bundle yourself up in a warm coat, scarf, hat, mittens, and appropriate hiking boots, it may be a little more difficult to determine exactly how to get your furry friend ready for the adventure. Check out the tips below to keep your dog warm and safe during your hiking trip.
Protect his Paws
The toughness of a dog’s paw pads will vary greatly depending on his breed. While some pups may be able to withstand a rough terrain with ice and snow for hours without pain, others might be bleeding or sore under the same conditions. As a general rule of thumb, most dogs will require booties on frigid winter days. Be sure to let your dog wear them around the house to get comfortable and break them in beforehand, or he might not last very long on the trail. Of course, some dogs hate the feeling of boots and will often tug or bite them off. Boots also only protect their feet and don’t prevent the rest of the leg from getting cold and wet. So, if your pup doesn’t like boots then take a look at this page: walkeepaws.com/pages/dog-boots-alternative. You can also rub his paws with musher’s wax to prevent ice from accumulating between his toes or in his fur. Even with these preventative steps, it’s important to regularly check on his paws to remove ice buildup or notice if he’s experiencing any pain or discomfort.
Invest in a Dog Jacket
On cold winter days, sometimes his own fur coat just isn’t enough. Buying him a dog jacket will not only keep him warm, but will also cut the wind, and protect his fur from being covered in icy snow. For a winter jacket, it’s preferable to find one with a shell outer layer to repel moisture, or synthetic insulation to stay warm even if he gets wet.
Even though it’s cold out and you may not notice the sweat like you would on a hot summer’s day, you and your pup still need adequate hydration during a winter hike. (And no, eating the snow doesn’t count!) Be sure to bring extra water for your dog to keep him properly hydrate during exercise.
Choose Treats Wisely
If temperatures drop low enough, it is very likely that treats could become frozen during your hike before he has the chance to eat it. Try out different brands to see which is best in cold temperatures. Carrying it in your pockets rather than in a backpack can also help to keep it from freezing. The last thing you’ll want is a hungry pup on your hike!