In the UK it gets cold around late October and can last all the way to March. Many people will be deterred walking their dogs if the weather gets too cold and sometimes you can’t blame them, but it’s important to remember that your dog’s need for exercise is important throughout the year. To answer the question ‘Should I walk my dog in cold weather?’ is yes, but not when it’s too cold and not for too long if it’s 0 or below. We’ve also got some tips here to make walking your dog in low temperatures a nice experience for both.
They need exercise
The most important thing here is to remember that exercise for dogs is important throughout the year, prolonged time without being outside and social interaction with other dogs can have an adverse effect on their health. Try to read this article as a guide on how to get them walking in the winter rather than reasons to avoid it. We do not recommend avoiding it unless it’s extremely cold and dangerous out there.
Some dogs can handle it better than others
Some dogs can handle cold weather better than others. Think big dogs with thick fur and that are stocky. Does your dog have the natural tools to handle the cold? If you have a skinny breed like a Chihuahua then it may be better to stay indoors or keeping the dog wrapped up in a good coat for shorter periods. If you are blessed with a husky or a long haired breed then it may well be business as usual for them.
However, if you have an elderly/puppy dog or one that is ill then sometimes avoiding the cold may not be the worst idea.
Wrap up warm
As mentioned above, make sure that both you and your pooch are wrapped up warm with a good quality dog coat to keep the heat in, we recommend pairing the dog coat with a harness underneath. For yourself, you can get a nice hat, coat and gloves. Pro tip for the gloves: get some which have some grip on the fingers to keep a hold of the lead without slipping if they pull away suddenly.
Make the walk exciting
Movement generates heat and that will warm up your pooch nice and quick. If it’s safe to do so, why not let them off the lead and play some fetch or even have a run instead of a walk?
Take care of their paws
Winter brings harsh chemicals and materials on the pavements and roads – salt grit, snow, ice, de-icer. This stuff is no good on your dog’s paws and can really cause some irritation by drying the paws out, cause a stinging sensation and if they have a cut already on their paws it can be really painful. Our first tip is of course avoiding the nasty stuff, the second tip is to give their paws a clean after a wintery walk.
Stay in if it’s just too cold
If the temperature is in the zero or below, sometimes it may just be better to stay indoors. Consider exercising them in doors with some play time or let them get some time with their favourite toys.