Vancouver isn’t exactly known for it’s super cold winters (in fact my friends from Eastern Canada tend to challenge if Vancouver gets “winter” at all) but with temperatures dipping below zero this past week I think it’s safe to say that winter is here.
What does winter mean for exercising with Avy? Well if you ask her it means FUN! Avy LOVES the cold! She can’t wait to get outside on a cold, sunny day (or better yet, in the snow) and as soon as she gets outside she starts to act like a big puppy, dancing around and being playful.
What that means for me is LOT’S of winter walks. I always find work days to be a challenge in the winter because I can’t take Avy to the trails in the evening (it’s WAY too dark and no way am I venturing into the tree’s after dark, I’m not that brave). The good news is that Avy seems to be fairly content to stick to on-leash walking around the neighbourhood on those cold, dark, evenings. To be truthful I love it almost as much as she does. There is something about a cold clear night that makes me want to walk forever so I bundle myself up, take along some music and head out for a good long walk through the neighbourhood.
So what should you be aware of when exercising your dog in the winter? In two words: Cold and Ice. While Avy is a large dog with a great undercoat not all dogs are so equipped for dealing with winter weather. If you have a small dog or a short hair that isn’t used to colder temperatures consider getting your dog a sweater or a coat to wear outside on those cold nights.
The other concern – for dogs big or small – is ice. Ice is NOT your dogs best friend. Keep your eye on your dogs paws to make sure icicles aren’t forming on the pads, which can be dangerous. And if your sidewalks and roads have been salted be sure to wash your dogs pads off as soon as you get in the house.
Bottom line, your dog needs exercise whether it’s -5 or +20 so you’d best be ready for it! Have all the supplies you need and both you and your dog will have a fantastic winter.