It seems fitting to write about winter adventure tips on the day of the first snowfall of the season. My puppy has already been out to play a little bit - what do your pups think of the snow?

As you are preparing for lots of winter fun with your pups this year, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Check those paw pads! Running and skidding over ice and snow can cause scrapes and rips on your dog's paw pads.  Additionally, as your dog's paws heat up the snow, it can refreeze around the hair between their toes and make for an uncomfortable romp!  Keep your dog's toe hair trimmed to reduce this, or invest in a pair of snow boots for your dog! We love our Ruffwear PolarTrex boots to keep Roo's feet dry and ice-free.  
  • Watch out for anti-freeze!  Antifreeze is poisonous but has a sweet taste, making some dogs and cats attracted to it.  Make sure there are no leaks creating puddles of this substance under your vehicles and that any bottled chemicals are stored out of your dog's reach. Also watch for this in the parking lot before or after your trek with your dog - don't let your dog sneak off under other vehicles!
  • Don't forget the water!  Just because it is cold doesn't mean your dog won't get thirsty on your snowshoeing trek.  Eating snow isn't enough to keep your dog hydrated, so don't skip out on that extra water bottle in your pack!
  • Tailor your activity! Your dog's age may impact how it feels about the cold weather.  Young puppies will have a harder time staying warm, and older dogs may feel additional discomfort in the cold due to arthritis. Make sure that your dog's outdoor time and activity is age appropriate and considerate of your dog's unique health needs.
  • Help your dog take breaks! Your dog may not tell you when he or she needs a break. Lots of dogs are snow maniacs, and love love love to go nonstop.  The cold temperatures can give them an extra burst of energy as well.  But the more tired your dog gets, the higher the likelihood that they could injure themselves during play or push themselves to the point of exhaustion. If you don't see your dog taking breaks on it's own, help them out by giving them something calm to do or putting them back on leash for a short bit of time.  This break is a great time to check on their paw pads!

Happy Adventuring!

Want a graphic for sharing?  Here you go!
(You can also download the PDF version here.)