How to Walk a Small Dog in Deep Snow
Walking a small dog in deep snow isn't always the best idea, but there are reasons to do so. Perhaps you have a hyper dog that needs walking, or you need to travel somewhere on foot. If you have to venture out into the deep snow with your small dog, start with step 1, below.
Considering The Risks
Be sure it's necessary.Most small dogs are short-haired, and snowy temperatures can drop to several degrees below zero. You need to think seriously about whether or not your small dog needs to be walked in the snow. There are many dangers to walking a dog in the snow, and you don't want to accidentally lose your little friend to the cold.
Consider alternatives.If there's a way to exercise your small dog in the house, such as a tennis ball or chew toy, try that instead. If you need to get somewhere with your small dog, he or she may be small enough to carry in a backpack or in your arms.
Use your local weather channel or the internet to check to see if warmer weather may be on its way.If so, it would be wiser to wait for that. Also be sure to check if the black ice risks are high, in which case no one should be out at all.
Preparing Before The Walk
Plan to go when it's warmest.If you absolutely have to or want to walk your small dog out in the snow, you need to know how to prepare your dog for his or her walk. He or she will need protection from the cold, as well as you. Check the weather for the 'warmest' time of the snowy day.
Dress your small dog in a jacket and dog boots.It may look ridiculous to some people, but it's your friend's best defense against the chill. Choose the right jacket: a knit or windbreaker-like jacket isn't a wise choice for thick snow. A better jacket would be a two layer fleece and nylon coat. If you get your pet boots to protect his or her feet, make sure they fit securely. If they're too tight they could hurt your dog's feet, if they're too loose they will fill with snow and defeat the purpose.
Pick a harness for your pup.Don't use his or her collar, because if they slip on any ice they could get choked by the leash and collar. A harness also allows them to breathe better, which is helpful in the cold.
Check one more time for temperatures and black ice.Make sure there isn't many clouds or a storm expected at any time that day-- it could hit while you and your friend are out and gravely endanger you both.
If you will be returning home after your walk, pop a few towels or a blanket in the dryer set on low.These will come in handy for warming up your pet upon return.
If you must go on a walk at night, be aware that the snow might be frozen and there's a greater chance for ice.You may even get lost. It's a very bad idea to go out in these conditions
Being Safe On The Walk
Choose a good route.If you're coming home after the walk, choose a short, even route. If you are traveling somewhere, decide the quickest and most even way to get there. Try your best to avoid hills, you and your pet will have difficulty tackling them.
Start your walk.If the snow is two times deeper than your dog is high, consider staying home, for it is incredibly dangerous for your dog at that point. If not, walk in front of your dog so you can tramp down a path for him or her. If the snow comes up to your dog's chest, do the same thing. If the snow comes halfway up your dogs legs, you can let your dog lead until you see it get reluctant to walk through the snow any further.
Walk slow.Not so much at a crawl, but don't run. There could be ice hidden under the snow.
Keep a close eye on your dog.If your less than or halfway through your walk and your dog is showing signs of freezing, like whimpering, acting angry or slow and groggy, immediately turn around. If your dog starts acting like this more than halfway, try pressing on, but keep a better watch on your friend.
If he or she refuses to walk any further, don't make him or her.Pick your dog up and carry it, or put it in your jacket to warm it up, then try walking him or her again. If he or she refuses at that point, collapses, or starts getting sleepy or aggressive, pick him or her up and head for home immediately.
Monitor your pet's winter wear.If his or her jacket starts going sideways, stop and fix it. If one of his or her boots is slipping off, stop and put it on again. Don't ignore even slight misplacement of your pet's clothing. Fix it so your pet doesn't have to add the discomfort to the already big issue of cold.
Arriving At The Destination
Once your walk is over, proceed into the house immediately.If you have other dogs or cats, get them away from your small dog until you can get its clothing off and give it a chance to rest and warm up.
Take off the coat and boots, along with the leash and harness.Chances are, they're wet from the snow, so hang them up somewhere to dry or toss them in the dryer. You must take good care of your dog's clothing if you want to use it again.
If you threw towels or blankets in the dryer, wrap your small dog up in them to warm it up.If you haven't, show your dog its bed. Let it sleep if it wants to.
Make sure there's food and water in your pet's dish.After the cold walk, a nice meal and drink might be just what it needs.
Try to stay calm for the rest of the day.The walk was probably a big event for your dog, so he or she's probably had enough excitement for the day.
Watch your dog for the first few hours after the walk.If it won't eat or drink or falls asleep and won't wake up, or remains groggy for a long time, consult a vet immediately.
Allow a time gap of a few days or up to a week before taking your dog out again.He or she doesn't need that stress on him or her every day. If your dog was in distress during the walk, don't take it out in the snow like that again.
- If your dog gets wet on the trip, make sure to dry it at home.
- Give your dog attention after the walk to show it was good for walking in the snow.
- Sleepiness is a red flag. It could be a sign of hypothermia.
- Don't loose a white-coated dog in the snow!
- Don't let your dog off-leash, it could get lost and freeze trying to find its way back to you.
Video: How to Teach your Dog to Walk on Leash
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