It has only officially been winter for a few weeks, yet we have already experienced brutal cold in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bone-chilling temperatures are enough to make anyone want to hibernate until spring. However, you know that’s not possible when you have a dog because he still needs a daily walk. If you don’t walk with your dog daily already, consider making this a habit now that we’re officially in National Walk Your Dog Month.
It's no secret that both people and their pets are getting bigger all the time, thanks in large part to a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, Minnesota and Wisconsin are both top contenders for having the greatest number of obese dogs in the country. While our harsh winters are partly to blame, daily walks are part of the deal when adopting a dog. Your dog misses out on many benefits when you skip it, including your complete attention, social interaction with other people and dogs, and greater confidence in new situaitons. Additionally, regular exercise helps to prevent obesity and reduce the risk of several diseases.
Safety Tips for Walking with Your Dog in the Winter
Although daily walking has many benefits in all types of weather, you do need to take some extra safety precautions in the winter. For example, cover your dog’s paws with booties to protect them from extreme cold as well as road salt and other chemicals. We recommend that you trim the fur between each of your dog’s toes regularly to keep ice, salt, and chemicals from sticking to his paw pads.
Make sure that your dog doesn’t get too far ahead of you and slip on a pile of ice. She could easily fall through or injure herself in another way. Lastly, head home at the first sign of possible frostbite or hypothermia. These could include xcessive shivering, anxiety, whining, increased panting, confusion and disorientation, and trying to sit down while you’re out walking.