Start off the new year by getting outdoors with your dog/s. January is National Walk Your Dog Month. Whether you live in a cold or warm climate, regular walks outdoors can have a positive impact on you and your pet. We've come up with a list of tips for safe and happy walks in the winter.
Know Your Dog's Limits. If you live in a cold climate, know the limits of your health and your dog's health for being outdoors in cold temperatures. For example, determine if there is ice or harsh surfaces on the path that may hurt your dog's paws, etc. Always gently wipe your dog's paws after a walk to remove salt or ice. I prefer to use a wet, lukewarm wash cloth.
If you live in a warm climate, know how much walking time is enough for your dog. Particularly if your route is mostly in the sun, be aware of how your dog responds. Heatstroke in dogs can be very serious and can happen even when you may not think it's that hot outside.
Choose the Right Leash and Harness. Your dog's comfort level on a walk is key. If you walk somewhere where leashes are required, invest in a leash and harness that support your dog's needs. My dog, Oliver, used to be terrified of harnesses until I found Buddy Belts. He is now agreeable to get his harness on and never wants our walks to end.
Bring Bags and Water. Be sure to have poop bags with you to clean up after your dog. I like to attach a poop bag holder to my leash. If you're going on a long walk, remember to bring some water for you and your dog.
Watch the Time. Winter means shorter days. If you'll be walking near roads in the dark, wear reflective clothing and bring a flashlight or wear a headlamp. Always use a leash in case your dog jets off unexpectedly. And stick to routes you're familiar with when visibility is limited.
Get Creative. If your dog likes to play fetch, bring a ball along on the walk. Oliver loves to play fetch. If I know there's going to be an area on our walk that I can let him off-leash, I bring a ball to play fetch and add some variety to his walk. Or if you have multiple route options for your walks, change it up every walk so your dog has new smells and you have different scenery.
Check out our Walk Time Collection for all of your dog walk needs.
Happy Walk Your Dog Month! Please share a photo from one your dog walks and tag us on Instagram or Facebook with hashtag #WalkWithOPB.