Walking Your Dog In Cold Weather? Follow These Tips

When the winter wind starts howling, it can be tempting to bundle up and stay inside with your dog.  But going out and getting some exercise is actually good for your furry companion, even in the winter. You'll just need to make sure you follow these tips to keep him safe during the cold spell.

Put booties on his feet.

Dogs' feet are less sensitive to the cold than human feet, but they still can develop frostbite when the temperature is bitter cold. They could also cut their pads on sharp ice. To protect your dog's paws, slip on some booties. Made from neoprene or a rubber material, these booties are sold at most pet stores and offer a layer of insulation -- plus some physical protection from ice. Some dogs may not like them the first few times you put them on, but they'll soon adapt.

Let him call it quits when he is ready.

If your dog turns to head back home or starts moving much more slowly at some point during your walk, take this as a sign that he's ready to call it quits. Don't push him to go any further; he knows his limits. Try to plan your walking routes so that you stay close to your home at all times and can get home quickly when your dog decides he is finished. For example, you could walk in a ½-mile block around your house instead of venturing off 2 miles away.

Start slowly.

The first few times you exercise your dog in the cold, keep the sessions short. Ten or fifteen minutes is enough. Once his lungs and muscles become more adapted to exercising in the cold, you can take him out for longer sessions.

Offer warm water when you get home.

Even when it is cold, dogs excrete water (through panting) when they exercise. So, they need to replenish this fluid so they don't get dehydrated. Cold water from the tap may not be appealing when they're already chilly from being outdoors, so offer some lukewarm water. If your dog has really been out for a while, you may want to offer some warm chicken broth to encourage him to drink a bit more.

If your dog's paws seem sore, he becomes lethargic after spending time outside, or you notice him coughing, be sure to make an appointment with a vet. With the precautions above, however, your chances of these maladies should be quite low. Visit a website like http://www.akronvet.com to learn more.