Winter is just around the corner, so we have come up with the best tips and tricks for playing in the snow with your dog!
Many of us have pups that love gallivanting in the bright and fresh snow by themselves, but getting outside and playing with them is a whole new way to bond with your dog! Whether you live somewhere you expect to see snow, or you have to drive to the mountains to see snow, it’s always a great time when your dog experiences the first snow of the year! Come on, isn’t it just adorable when they bury their face in a pile of snow and look back at you with a teeny-tiny snow-beard?
And while playing in the snow is one of the most exciting things a dog can experience, it’s also something for which you and your pup must be adequately prepared. So keep reading for our best tips on keeping you and your furry friend safe this winter and for some other fun-filled snow activities we’ll suggest.
First, Let’s Talk Snow Gear
Before you brave the chilly outdoors, we highly recommend gearing up for the cold for yourself and your pup. If you plan on spending a decent amount of time in the snow yourself, you might want to break out your snow boots, warm wools socks, a base layer, a pair of snow pants, a ski coat, and a winter hat. You may also want some gloves to protect your hands while making and throwing snowballs!
If your pup is furry and built for the snow, there’s a good chance they won’t need a lot of protection. However, if you keep your dog’s fur short or have a naturally short coat, you may want to invest in a puffer coat or vest to keep them warm and protect them from the elements.
Protect Their Little Paws
Okay, maybe their paws aren’t that little if you’ve got a big dog, but they sure are cute, and you need to protect them! Ice and clumps of snow can get stuck in between your dog’s paw, which can cause, scraps, cuts, cracking, and discomfort. If you plan on being in the snow for a long time, consider investing in some dog booties to protect their feet. If you’re only in the snow for a couple of minutes, you can get away with just checking their paws when you’re done playing and dry them off with a towel, thoroughly checking for leftover ice or any cracks in the skin of the feet.
If you have a dog that is prone to getting snow stuck in the fur around its paws, here’s an easy trick! Grab a cup, bowl, or bucket of room temperature or slightly warmer water and dip their feet in one at a time, letting the snow melt away. Then all you’ll need to do is give those paws a quick wipe-down with a towel and call it a day!
Please note that if you see any scrapes or cracking in their paws, you should treat them right away to prevent infection and maintain its natural moisture barrier. You can use an antibiotic ointment or a paw balm made for soothing dry, cracked doggy paws.
Your Pup Needs Water
Just like us humans, our dogs need plenty of water to keep them hydrated. When your pup is frolicking among the winter wonderland, they’re exerting a lot of energy, burning lots of calories, and panting quite a bit. So, to have the best experience after playing in the snow with your dog, ensure that the two of you have plenty of clean water to drink!
Your pup might also be a bit hungry after playing so hard, so offer them a healthy treat afterward or add a little bit of an extra helping of food in their doggy bowl.
Watch out for Hazards
When snow is on the ground, you can bet that the streets and sidewalks have been salted to keep ice at a minimum. While most cities use rock salt, some might use an asphalt anti-freeze formula that can be toxic for all kinds of animals to consume. Our biggest and best safety tip for when you’re playing in the snow with your dog is to use booties or always wipe down your pet’s paws before they come inside. Doing this will ensure that if they lick their paws, they won’t ingest any harmful chemicals.
You should also know that while rock salt is not completely toxic, it can upset a dog’s stomach and cause dryness and cracking in its paws, so whether anti-freeze or salt is used, it’s best to play it safe and always wipe down those furry feet!
Fun Activities for the Snow
It’s easy for us to discount the need for a dog’s exercise during these colder months, but dogs need stimulation and exercise daily. Whether it’s a quick walk outside, going to the dog park, or playing fetch, a dog needs to get its energy out. So if you’re willing to brave the cold for the sake of your pup, here are a few ways to have fun while playing in the snow with your dog:
- Like skiing? Try skijoring!
- Make snowballs for your little buddy to chase
- Make an agility course with snow
- Hide treats buried in the snow for your pup to search and dig for
- Bring your dog on a snow-shoeing adventure
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