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Winter Survival Ideas for You and Your Dog

Winter Survival Ideas for You and Your Dog,  As the weather turns decidedly wet, windy, snowy, and inclement, John has taken a look at his personal tips on enjoying the countryside.

“We all enjoy the crisp air, blue sky, and clean feeling of a high-pressure system. Enjoying how the sunlight plays on the last few leaves, struggling to hold onto the branches! We love watching Biscuit gallop across the fields when the landscape has been visited by good ole Jack Frost. Glistening and glittering, puddles with wonderful patterns and icicles growing on fallen leaves.” Loving the sound of this? Below are a few tips and ideas to help you combat the short days and dark nights.
Weather watching is so important, right down to the best hour to go when windy and stormy. Our paddocks look like a battlefield where the horses have trampled the grass into submission. Mud!
My wife never enjoys the short darker days, long evenings, and soggy puddles. She chooses to keep horses, I say.
Springer Spaniel in the snow in winter

People and Dogs have similar needs

Flexibility in the duration of a walk, or where you go, is also important for some breeds. (Spaniels, Labradors who are regularly working outside will have a much higher tolerance). My wife is always considering which rug to put on her horse as the weather/temperature changes daily.  Warmth is a luxury we all crave.  As temperatures plummet in the early hours and your heating may have gone off, a cozy bed really comes into its own. Talking of beds, where is your dog’s bed? Do you need to move it to a different location in the house in winter, for example, to avoid the draft or cold surface?

Older woman with her dog

Dog Walking Safety for Owners

A friend of ours has had a hip replacement and her biggest fear is falling. Luckily her Labrador has been well trained on the lead and does not pull.

She has boots for normal walking and a pair of boots for slippery conditions. To avoid slipping on ice consider walking at a later time of day. In wet weather, our patio seems to grow an algae which always proves slippery. I know a friend’s decking which is amazing but becomes slippery when wet.

We love the way she is an avid weather watcher on her phone, aiming to give her dog, and herself, the best times of the day. If walking alone she always makes sure her mobile is fully charged, they lose charge more quickly in the cold. If you are concerned, make sure someone knows where and when you are going out, or better still take them with you and have right old catch up and put the world to rights!

Ice on Rivers and Lakes are Dangerous for Dogs

On the really cold days, she never lets her dog off the lead near a river, lake, or pond. He loves nothing more than swimming, but she knows he only comes back when he chooses. He would not consider he was getting chilled or even hypothermic. Ice is unpredictable when it comes to thickness and taking weight.
The news often highlights an owner that ended up in the hospital, or worse, as they went in after their dog. If they fall through ice phone the emergency services for help and keep calling him/her to swim back to you.

Energy levels can fluctuate if you change your routine based on the weather. The fresh air and exercise is so good for you. The initial excitement of exploring snow will guarantee lots more energy is used by both of you. The opposite of this is, of course, if you stay in more than usual you will both be exercising less.  Because of this, you may want to review the feeding levels you are giving your dog.

Sensible Winter Survival Ideas for You and your Dog When Walking In The Dark

Coat, gloves, hat, high viz jacket, yours and the dog’s, bright lead – Check.  Remember your torch, (or head torch leaving you hands-free),  that extra thermal layer and neck-warmer

Biscuit the Border Terrier in the Snow

Do your dress your dog or leave as nature intended?

Elderly people and children feel the cold. It is exactly the same for puppies and old dogs.  Illness and medications can also make them more susceptible. Biscuit, our 11-year-old Border Terrier has a good coat, but if he has been clipped we will consider a waterproof jacket. Wearing an extra layer is especially useful for old dogs,  thinly coated breeds, dogs who love to roll in puddles, and senior dogs who may have the onset of arthritis or rheumatism which you may not be fully aware of yet.

My Mud busting Tips

The back of my car is kitted out with essentials for Biscuits comforts but also to keep my precious car clean. What do I do? Boot liners are fab, I would have seat covers too if he was allowed on them, which he is not! It really helps to keep a bottle of fresh water and old towels to get the worst off before he starts cleaning his paws and coat in the back of my car. Check for sores, thorns, or cuts as grit on roads, exposed gravel, and ice can be sharper or irritate at this time of year.
Winter Survival Ideas for You and Your Dog updated Jan 2022


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