Winter Playtime Tips for Your Dog
When the winter weather hits, it’s easy to fall into the habit of staying inside where it’s warm and cozy with your canine companion. Rather than face the harsh winds Jack Frost has brought with him, you think the two of you would much prefer to stay on the couch under a blanket and enjoy the comforts of home. In truth, your dog would love to be outside playing with you, snow or not! Braving the elements can be a great experience for the both of you, and can give you a great opportunity to increase the owner-dog bond even more. Following these six playtime tips for dogs will help make sure that you and your dog enjoy yourselves, whatever winter activities you get involved in.
- Keep your dog on a leash – When you’re walking in snow, it can be easy for your dog to lose its scent and have trouble finding it’s way back to you. This is particularly true if it’s snowing heavily while you’re out with your dog. If you know you’re going to encounter bodies of water while you’re out exploring, it’s critical to keep the leash on your dog. Remember, the ice may not be frozen completely over the water, and one misstep could result in your dog breaking the ice. Only when you know for sure you’re in a safe place, like your yard or an off-leash park should you let your pup off-leash.
- Equip your dog with the proper winter gear – Just as you bundle up to go out in the cold, some dogs need to as well. While dogs with a longer coat, or a double coat are better prepared to handle the elements, short haired dogs can get cold easily. For these kinds of dogs, consider getting them a jacket or a sweater to wear while they enjoy the outdoors. They will be much happier outside if they are warmer. For any dog, look into getting specially designed dog booties. These will protect your dog’s paws from snow and ice buildup, as well as any chemicals and salt used to keep the sidewalks and roadways clear.
- Wipe your dog’s paws and belly when they come inside – Whenever your dog comes inside from being outdoors, give their paws and stomach a quick wipe-down. The rubbing motion will not only help to warm them up, but it will also remove any snow, dirt, ice, or chemicals attached to their fur. The chemicals used in the winter to melt ice are potentially dangerous to your dog if consumed, so make sure your pup doesn’t attempt to lick their feet or belly before you’ve had a chance to wipe them off. This quick clean will also help to keep the mess from the outdoors off your floors inside.
- Ensure your dog is receiving adequate water – Even though it’s cold outside, your dog can still quickly get dehydrated with lots of playing, or long walks. Make sure they have plenty of water available at all times, and perhaps bring some fresh water for both you and your pup on your walks.
- Pick the right winter toys – While your dog may love their tennis balls, keep in mind how easy those are to lose in a snowbank. Unless you want to spend your spring collecting every tennis ball your dog brought outside and quickly lost, think about a toy that may be easier to keep track of. A brightly coloured ball will stand out better against the white of the snow, or perhaps a Frisbee or other flat toy that will stay on top of the snow rather than sink in. When it comes to plushie toys, all of the drool that is no problem indoors can quickly freeze and accumulate dirt outside. Stick to rubber toys, or even nature’s dog toy, the classic stick.
- Don’t leave your dog in the car – In the summer time, your car can quickly become too hot for your dog. In the winter, your car does the opposite, losing heat rapidly and acting much like a fridge. Bring your dog in the car only when you’re able to take them with you where you’re going, like a walking destination, or to someone’s house.
Always respect the elements, and if the weather is too much for you or your dog, stay inside! Watch for slippery and icy spots on your travels, and have fun!
Remind Your Dog of Their Manners for Winter
Whether it’s your puppy’s first snowfall, or your dog’s fifth winter, it’s always important to make sure your dog knows how to be polite when they come across other people or animals. The snow may make them more playful and more curious, and they may forget some of their basic training while they’re busy exploring all that this winter wonderland has to offer them.
To ensure a great winter experience, consider a dog or puppy obedience training class to make sure your pup’s manners are ready for the season. Contact or Call the professionals from Alpha Paws at 1-877-868-5248 (PAWS) today to find out what you need.