Winter Walks with Davi

Dog walks are delightful. For a short while every day, it’s just you, your dog, and the fresh air of the great outdoors. You’re both getting exercise. You both get to take in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. There’s almost nothing better. 

But as the temperatures drop and darkness falls earlier, those walks begin to feel more like a chore and less like an adventure. And, while you can layer your clothes and socks to stay warm and dry, your dog is at the mercy of mother nature.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your pup protected from the elements in wintertime and make walks more pleasant during a cold snap.

Who is Vulnerable? 

As a general rule, dogs with a short coat (and no undercoat) will not cope well with frigid temperatures. Short-legged or toy breeds dogs who walk on the cold ground will get chilled quickly. Puppies, elderly dogs, and dogs with health conditions will also feel the cold quickly.

On the other hand, breeds like the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Saint Bernard, and Bernese Mountain Dog have a thick coat of fur, making them better equipped for spending time outside in the winter. 

Previous exposure to cold weather can also impact a dog’s tolerance to it. For instance, a dog who grew up in Maine is more likely to tolerate colder temperatures than one who spent a large portion of his life in Florida.

To make matters more confusing, some dogs simply feel the cold more than others. I personally start to shiver when the temperature goes below 50 degrees F. That’s not cold – it’s just cool – but I’m uncomfortably cold. So, it’s important to know your own dog’s ability to tolerate cold.

Keeping Your Dog Warm Outside 

Just as you bundle up for cold weather, your pup may benefit from a winter wardrobe. There are tons of styles, colors, and sizes of winter sweaters, fleeces, and waterproof jackets that will keep your pet warm and stylish too! Keep in mind that fit is important when it comes to dog apparel. You want to ensure that your dog isn’t just warm, but safe and comfortable, as well. Cold weather attire should always cover the stomach area, as one of the most important things for your dog is keeping his core temperature up.

Keep Walks Short

Whether or not your dog will wear a coat or sweater, winter walks in the extreme cold should be kept as short as possible. Usually, when it gets too cold, I will quickly go potty and come back in right away! Keeping your walks to a normal length when temperatures are in the 40s and 50s is fine but shorten them once the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. How much you shorten it is up to you. If your dog feels the cold, try to walk him in the late morning or early afternoon hours when temperatures are a little warmer and avoid early morning or late evening walks. As a rule of thumb, most dogs should be able to tolerate the same amount of cold you can, especially if he’s wearing a coat. 

Try spending time playing outdoors while it’s sunny. The sunshine brings the added benefit of providing vitamin D and warmth. You can also consider indoor activities over long walks in the winter. Food puzzles, hide-and-seek, and squeaky toy time will keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated without making you or him uncomfortable on a cold blustery day.  

Stay Warm Inside 

When you’re cranking up the thermostat, wrapping yourself in heated throws, and wearing your fleece jammies, don’t forget that your pooch may be as chilled as you inside the house. That’s at least part of the reason dogs like to climb on your lap: it’s so warm there! Choosing cozy bedding is vital to ensure your dog stays warm. Warm blankets can create a snug environment and raised beds can keep your dog off cold tiles or hardwood floors.  

Between the dog sweaters, a comfy bed, and warm snuggles, your canine can thrive in the winter with little or no issues. Keeping your pet warm in winter is easy when you take precautions and provide love – and lovely accessories.