Winter Dog Walking Tips

Posted on Jan 25th 2023


Winter Dog Walking Tips

Walking your dog can feel like an impossible task in the winter. Cold temperatures, icy sidewalks, and snowy winds make for miserable and possibly dangerous conditions if you're caught unaware. With a little preparation, walking your dog in winter weather can be safe for you and your furry best friend. Here are some tips to help you make sure your dog is still getting the exercise they need even in the winter, brought to you by the expert dog trainers of Dog Training Elite!

Can Dogs Walk in the Snow?

Even if your dog doesn't handle cold well, they can't remain inside all winter, so many dog owners ask—can dogs walk safely in the snow? The short answer is yes; dogs can walk in the snow. Many dog owners walk their dogs in the snow, even in areas where the weather is particularly cold in the winter. Remember that your dog's breed, age, fur, and size affect how long they can be outside in winter weather. For example, a smaller dog is more susceptible to the cold than a larger dog, and breeds with thicker hair or fur are better insulated from the cold.

A Bernese Mountain Dog in the snow - contact Dog Training Elite today for a free evaluation!

Tips for a Safe Winter Walk

With proper preparation, you can be confident in you and your pup braving the cold for a walk this winter. Use these tips to keep your dog warm and your walk safe:

Keep it Short

Try to keep your time outdoors under 30 minutes, or consider breaking up the walk into multiple short segments throughout the day to avoid inducing hypothermia or frostbite on your dog. If the temperature is above freezing, your pup may be able to linger outside long enough to play around in the snow after your walk.

Dress Warmly

The best way to protect your pup from the cold is to dress them warmly. You can buy dog coats, sweaters, and even boots to keep your pup dry and warm as they tread across snow and ice. Providing layers between your dog and the cold will allow them to maintain a healthier temperature regulation throughout their time outdoors.

Walk in the Day

Though it can be difficult to manage with shorter daylight hours, keeping your dog's winter walk limited to the daytime will be warmer for you and your pup. If you’re stuck at work during the day, consider asking a friend or hiring someone to walk your dog during the day until the weather warms.

Don’t Let your Dog Eat Snow

While allowing your dog to eat snow may seem innocent or cute, it can do more harm than good. Unless it is fresh and untouched, snow may contain toxic substances such as ice melt or antifreeze. Consuming a large amount may make your dog sick or lower their body temperature to a dangerous degree. Rather than letting your pup drink dirty or discolored snow, bring a water bottle for them to drink from during the walk.

Small dog wearing a sweater - check out Dog Training Elite's tips to keep you dog warm this winter.

Avoid Dangerous Temperature Levels

Always check the temperature before taking a walk. If the weather is below freezing, don't risk your and your dog's health with an extended walk. Consider alternative indoor physical and mental exercise—like a training session with Dog Training Elite—until the weather warms enough for your pup to play to their heart's content outside.

Remember, when it comes to walking your dog in winter, your and your dog's well–being is everything. At Dog Training Elite, your dog's safety is our priority. For more tips and tricks for your dog's health and welfare, including our expert dog training services, contact us today!