Exercising during winter may be the last thing on a pet parent’s mind when cold weather wraps around them, but all pets do need a bit of activity, no matter the season.
Many indoor dogs won’t be able to tolerate being left in the sub-freezing temperatures because the pads of their paws or their coats aren’t thick enough. This is why preparing them before winter pet exercise is a must.
After gearing up yourself, try to get your pet moving a bit before going out into the cold. Making them participate in a quick warm up helps them avoid injuries when playing in the cold.
If you have a smaller pet or a breed with short hair, you can keep them warm by dressing them up in a pet coat.
Many dogs end up lost during winter months compared to all other seasons, so putting them on a leash, attaching an ID tag, and getting a pet microchip are must-haves.
When you’re running or walking, take note of any ice patches that could cause you and your dog to slip and fall on the ground.
If you notice your dog crying, frequently stopping or lifting his paws up, there’s a big chance that he wants you to know that the pads of his paws are cold. He could have also stepped in salt or other chemicals frequently used to melt ice on the streets, leading to irritation.
Be on the lookout and avoid letting your dog go under cars as they might end up licking antifreeze, which is a poison that smells sweet to dogs and cats. This can be found in parking lots and many community streets as well.
Once you’re back indoors, wipe your dog’s paws with a wet towel to cut down the risk of him licking any potential toxins that might have ended up on the pads. If your puppy is impatient, try to keep a tub of warm water and spare cloths by the front door so you can easily clean his paws when you arrive.
Watch out for balls of ice that might have formed between your dog’s toes. This can become very painful, so washing their paws is definitely a must.
Inspect your dog’s pads and nails. Sharp and dangerous objects can hide inside snow, potentially causing injury if left unchecked. If the pads of their paws become discolored (grey, red or white and peeling), immediately thaw them by carefully applying warm, damp towels.