Furry friends like exploring in the winter wilderness just as much as you do, so don't leave them at home. Instead, prepare Fido for a cold-weather hike. Grab the right gear, choose an appropriate trail, and keep these dog safety tips in mind as you make your way through the snow.
When it comes to dog safety on a winter trail, there are only a few pieces of gear you really shouldn't go without. There are also a number of optional items you can use depending on your dog, the amount of snow and the length of the hike. Consider what your pup needs:
Easy-to-see leash: Keep your dog from disappearing into the snowy landscape with a bright orange, green or yellow leash.
Collapsible bowl: Use this for both food and water, or bring two. Your pup still needs to hydrate in the winter. Having to work harder to walk in the snow means they're burning more calories, too, so bring a few treats to help your pup stay energized.
While this is important at all times of the year, in terms of dog safety, some winter trails just aren't appropriate for a furry hiker. Look for a trail that's dog-friendly all year round, and then check snow and weather conditions. Consider:
Once you choose the trail, do a practice run with Fido. While this isn't necessary, it's important in two specific situations:
Like hiking with kids, you can never be sure how the hike will actually play out with a dog by your side. If your dog becomes too tired, uncomfortable or cold they may resist continuing. Come to the hike with:
Frequent breaks along the trail allow you to check in with Fido and make sure he's able to continue on. When you stop, look for:
Snow between the paws: Dogs will lick the snow off their feet, consequently attracting more snow to stick. During your break, check the dog's paws and wipe them off if necessary.
Frozen furry chunks: Look for snow chunks on your dog's body, especially underneath where most contact with the snow is being made.
If you want your dog's experience to be as great as yours, keep these dog safety tips in mind. When you come prepared and choose an appropriate trail, you can both enjoy the winter wilderness.