Enjoy Winter Walks with Your Dog

Written by Grantsburg Animal Hospital Admin on . Posted in Blog

Enjoy Winter Walks with Your Dog


It has only officially been winter for a few weeks, yet we have already experienced brutal cold in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bone-chilling temperatures are enough to make anyone want to hibernate until spring. However, you know that’s not possible when you have a dog because he still needs a daily walk. If you don’t walk with your dog daily already, consider making this a habit now that we’re officially in National Walk Your Dog Month.

Bundling up to head outside in January may not sound like much fun to you, but consider how important it is to your dog. When dogs don’t get enough exercise, they still need to release their pent-up energy somehow. This could result in your dog making a mess in the house by chewing up the furniture, knocking over valuables, and even eliminating indoors. A lack of exercise is often behind a dog who suddenly develop separation anxiety as well.

Benefits of Walking with Your Dog Every Day
It's no secret that both people and their pets are getting bigger all the time, thanks in large part to a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, Minnesota and Wisconsin are both top contenders for having the greatest number of obese dogs in the country. While our harsh winters are partly to blame, daily walks are part of the deal when adopting a dog. Your dog misses out on many benefits when you skip it, including your complete attention, social interaction with other people and dogs, and greater confidence in new situaitons. Additionally, regular exercise helps to prevent obesity and reduce the risk of several diseases.
Walking every day is just as good for you. By walking just 30 minutes each day, you reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and depression, particularly of the seasonal variety. As long as both you and your dog bundle up, you can walk outdoors during all but the most severe winter weather conditions.
Safety Tips for Walking with Your Dog in the Winter
Although daily walking has many benefits in all types of weather, you do need to take some extra safety precautions in the winter. For example, cover your dog’s paws with booties to protect them from extreme cold as well as road salt and other chemicals. We recommend that you trim the fur between each of your dog’s toes regularly to keep ice, salt, and chemicals from sticking to his paw pads. 
Make sure that your dog doesn’t get too far ahead of you and slip on a pile of ice. She could easily fall through or injure herself in another way. Lastly, head home at the first sign of possible frostbite or hypothermia. These could include xcessive shivering, anxiety, whining, increased panting, confusion and disorientation, and trying to sit down while you’re out walking.
If your dog does sustain an injury or you’re concerned he has caught a cold-related illness, don’t hesitate to contact us at Grantsburg Animal Hospital at 715-463-2536 or Wild River Veterinary Clinic at 320-629-7474. 
Photo Credit: Olesia Nosova / Getty Images

Tags: exercise, winter safety