Is it just me, or has this winter been really hard work? We’ve had three periods of really heavy snow here, twice been snowed in and unable to leave the house!
Last time we had snow and ice, I had a few questions from worried dog owners, so I thought I would write a blog with some “dogs in snow” tips which I hope you find helpful!
The most common problem with walking dogs in the snow isn’t really the weather – but the fact that the roads are gritted with salt. This can be an irritant to our dog’s paws and often we can see our dogs biting their paws and feet after a walk.
If you can, avoid roads or pavements that have been gritted and choose to stay in the fields or footpaths. If you think you have walked on a gritted road or cannot avoid it, you can wash off your dog’s paws after the walk with lukewarm water and dry them with a towel. That will hopefully stop them biting at their paws and ingesting any grit.
Snow can become compact in your dog’s paws and stick to their feet. Usually this isn’t a problem, but sometimes it can aggravate the dog’s paws and cause sores or chill burns. If you see that your dog has icey feet after your walk, it’s best to gently towel off, wait until the dog’s feet have warmed up and then wash off with lukewarm water.
Slips and tips
Both you and your dog can go head over heels in this type of weather so do watch out. To save myself in falls, I recently started using snow chains which are similar to these and fit over my welly boots and walking boots.
If your dog has a fall, just watch out for any signs of muscle injury and rest them if they limp or look sore. If your dog has a bad fall and you are worried about them limping, speak to your vet as they may need medication or further investigation.
Do I have to walk my dog in this?!
As everyone will know, I’m a big fan of walking, keeping dogs fit and allowing dogs to be dogs on walks by sniffing and having fun. However, it’s important to say that no dog has ever died from missing one walk, nor will the puppy police be on your case if you miss a walk in extreme weather.
If you don’t feel it is safe for you or your dog to go out, you can engage them inside with enrichment activities, scentwork, hiding treats, Kongs, long chews etc. Don’t make yourself feel guilty if you can’t make it out in the ice!