Walking Dogs in Cold Weather
dog walking, winter walking, icegripper
Your dog needs daily exercise no matter what the conditions outside...walking your dog in cold weather may not always be appealing, but your dog will always be enthusiastic! Walking dogs when it's icy and snowy presents specific challenges for both dog and owner.
For the dog owner one of the biggest dangers is being pulled by the dog on an area of slick ice and being injured. It's not always obvious where the ice is, especially if there has been a dusting of snow. Even a small dog can pull an owner over if underfoot traction is compromised by ice or slick snow.
Although there is no specific information on how many dog owners are injured, the NHS compile data on injuries sustained as a result of slipping on snow and ice. In 2008/9 7,832 people were admitted to Hospital Accident & Emergency Departments, typically with fractures and broken bones. This figure rose to 18,565 for the winter of 2009/10, which resulted in 70,674 hospital bed days.
In addition to boots, hats and gloves, ice grips should be part of any dog owner's vital equipment to ensure their dog receives daily exercise. The type of ice grips chosen will be dependant on location, how far the owner walks the dog, size and number of dogs. Here are ICEGRIPPERS pick of the best:
ICEtrekkers Diamond Grip: amazing grip on snow and ice allowing an owner to retain control of their dog. Rugged, tough and one of the few ice grips for shoes and boots that can handle transitional environments - snow-ice-slush-dry pavement-back to ice. A great choice of ice grip for any dog owner but particularly suitable for city dog walkers, who may be walking on patchy ice and snow.
Kahtoola MICROspikes: the legendary grip of MICROspikes is achieved by incorporating 8mm spikes in it's design. Best used by those who walk their dogs over fields and through woodlands, or walks where there is not too much pavement.
ICESPIKE: a completely new approach to achieving grip on ice and snow. ICESPIKE is a semi permanent solution. Suitable for boots, wellingtons, or any rubber soled footwear. Leave your favourite walking shoes by the door, with the dog's lead and you are ready to go.ICESPIKE is best for dog walkers who have a regular routine, which does not involve going into town centre shops, as the ICESPIKE can't be removed like Diamond Grip and MICROspikes.
What other cold weather precautions should be taken to keep the dog safe and healthy? Veterinary Director, of The Dogs Trust, Paula Boyden, suggests the following:
'Let your dog's winter coat grow, and if you have a puppy, short-haired or old dog it is a good idea to buy him a sensible coatto keep out the chill.
After walking your dog, especially if he has been out in the snow, make sure he is completely dried so that he does not catch a cold. Consider using Dog Trust Paw Protection Cream and Snout Balm to prevent and soothe cracked pads and snouts.
Keep your dog on a lead if it is snowing very heavily. Snow can be disorienting and can affect a dog's sense of smell so he could become lost easily.
Make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag in case he does get lost.
Grit used to melt snow can cut paws and irritate pads - wipe your dog's legs, feet and stomach when you come indoors after a snowy walk, which may have taken you across freshly gritted and salted roads. Washing and wiping your dog's feet after walks will also prevent stray lumps of ice getting painfully trapped in their paws.
Antifreeze is highly poisonous but tasty to dogs! Keep it well out of their reach and don't let them lick around freshly de-iced roads and paths.
Never leave your dog in a car during extremely cold weather
Do not let your dog walk on frozen ponds - the ice may not be thick enough to take his weight.
If your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go after them, but encourage them to swim back to you.'
, winter walking