Four Tips For Safely Exercising Your Dog During Cold Weather

Exercise is important for your dog's overall health, even in the winter when it's cold and snowy outside. It's essential to make sure, however, that your winter exercise routine is not doing your dog more harm than good. You can achieve that goal by following these safety tips for exercising your dog in cold weather.

Protect the paws with booties.

Most pet stores carry waterproof booties that you can slip over your dog's paws. You should definitely use these whenever there is snow on the ground or if you will be walking your dog in an area where the paths have been salted. Salt can dry out and irritate the pads on your dog's paws. Walking through snowy areas, your dog may accidentally step on a sharp object or branch that he can't see beneath the snow – the booties offer some protection.

Offer your dog some warm water.

Dogs can get dehydrated with exercise, even in cold weather. However, many do not like to drink chilly water. Bring some water along in an insulated thermos so you can offer your dog a warm drink several times during exercise. This will prevent dehydration and the associated fatigue and stomach upset.

Watch for signs that your dog is too cold.

Different dogs have different cold tolerances. Some breeds may be just fine in sub-freezing temperatures, while others may get chilly when the temperature falls below freezing. If your dog starts shivering or holding up one leg, or if he seems reluctant to run about and exercise, then the weather is too cold for him. Take him inside to a warm environment, and once the chill has worn off, focus on providing some indoor exercise with a game of tug-o-war or by having him follow you up and down the stairs a few times.

Don't let your dog get too wet.

When the fur is dry, it can stand on end, trapping air and creating a barrier that keeps your dog warm while he is outdoors. When your dog gets wet, however, the fur is no longer able to stand on end and keep your dog warm like this. It is weighed down by the water. Thus, it's important not to exercise your dog outside when it is raining or sleeting. If your dog does get wet when exercising outside is cold weather, take that as your signal to call it quits and head indoors for the day.

For more information about taking care of your dog's health, contact Deep Creek Veterinary Hospital or a similar location.