Hey, did you know January is National Walk You Pet Month? Me either. But why not make every month a Walk Your Pet Month? Here are some great tips for all pet lovers that you and your furry friends can benefit from all year long! Let’s get walking!
At first glance it might seem a bit odd that National Walk Your Pet Month falls in wintery January, but the turning of the calendar to a new year is the perfect time to revamp one’s resolve to get more active, and what better way to do that than with your best canine friend! In fact, many dogs LOVE the crisp cool winter weather and prefer it over sultry hot summer days.
Here are some tips to keep your four-footed friend fit, safe, and healthy through exercise.
- Be weather wise
For those in northern climates, be aware of slippery icy surfaces and take measures to keep your dog’s feet protected from ice and salt. You can apply a waxy protectant such as Musher’s Secret (https://musherssecret.net) to the paw pads before exercise to offer a barrier to the skin, and carefully wash the paws when you get back home, removing any salty or chemical residues. Dogs need some time to acclimate their feet to cold surfaces too, so take it easy when the temperatures drop.
- Dress for success
Consider getting your pooch outfitted in some awesome outdoor gear to handle wind, rain, and snow (and maybe treat yourself to a new parka too!). Having the right wardrobe for the event gives you the confidence to step outside and you will be less likely to stay curled up under the covers at home when the weather gets stormy. Check out the great gear from Ruffwear (https://www.ruffwear.com) and Hurtta (https://www.hurtta.com).
- Stay visible
Winter is an important time to wear high visibility clothing for yourself and your dog so that cars, bikes, and other pedestrians can easily see you. Reflective stripes on your clothing and even LED lit collars can keep you both safe. This is just one of many options: https://www.niteize.com/product/Nite-Dawg-LED-Dog-Collar.asp
- Bring treats
Keep the pump primed and the rewards high especially if your dog is reluctant to step outside of her comfort zone. I often use cheese sticks with my crew; easy to carry in pockets and they can last a long time. I always want to have something enticing to offer my dog if I need to distract her away from a bad situation, or just share a great snack with her while we are out and about.
Okay ready? Set? Get out there and have some fun! Your dog will thank you for it.
Kerri Shandro is a small animal veterinarian practicing in Northern California and Oregon. She lives in Oregon with her husband, three wiener dogs, wolfhound, chickens, goats, cows and cat, Joan. She is also Ellie the Wienerdog’s Auntie.