Regular exercise is vital for your dog’s mental and physical health, but during cold and wet weather, getting outside poses some extra safety challenges you should keep in mind.
Walking your dog in the rain and snow often comes with cold temperatures, making walks chilly and uncomfortable for you and your dog. Not to mention, your pup may struggle to keep their footing when walking on wet, muddy, or icy surfaces, putting them at risk of injury if they slip. Visibility is another primary concern during damp weather, and drivers have a more difficult time stopping on slippery pavement, so it’s imperative you wear reflective clothing so they can see you and your pup from afar.
If you are wondering what dogs need on a walk to stay safe, keep these top safety tips in mind so you can dress your dog properly when walking in rain, snow, or mud.
Warm layers are essential
Even dogs agree that being cold is no fun, and in extreme cases, prolonged exposure to frigid conditions could lead to hypothermia which can be life-threatening. Just because your dog has hair or fur, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will keep them sufficiently warm enough during cold, wet weather. Always be mindful of the temperature outside and whether your dog can reasonably tolerate it without dog rain gear.
Breeds like the Boston Terrier or Italian Greyhound and other dogs with thin coats may struggle to stay warm, even on mild days. In the same way, puppies, senior dogs, and small breeds are all more susceptible to cold than other dogs. Dog snow gear, like snow suits, are helpful in keeping your dog warm on walks.
Providing an insulated outer layer for your dog will make cold weather walks infinitely safer and more enjoyable! A Shiny Puffer Vest with a water-resistant exterior and a stylish hood is a fantastic option for brisk fall and winter walks, even when it’s raining. Meanwhile, the full body, insulated dog Snow Suit onesie will keep your pup warm and dry while they romp around in the snow. You may be surprised to see how your pup’s attitude towards cold weather recreation changes once they have the right gear!
Keep your pup dry with outerwear
Wet weather walks may also leave your pup susceptible to the cold, but on some days, they may be your dog’s only opportunity for exercise or potty breaks. What should dogs wear in the rain? If your pup is sensitive to getting wet in the rain, water-resistant outerwear will offer enough protection to keep them cozy and dry, helping them forget about the pesky droplets so they can enjoy their time outside. As a bonus, rain gear for dogs also helps keep your pup clean from splashing around in puddles outside. For some short legged breeds like Corgis or Dachshunds, who are low to the ground, it is especially hard to keep their bellies clean and dry. Doing so means less post-walk baths, fewer mud stains on your furniture, and no lingering wet dog stench when you get home!
Do raincoats help dogs? Canada Pooch’s selection of rainwear includes everything you need to keep your dog dry on a drizzly walk. The Torrential Tracker dog rain jacket has a classic water-resistant shell that offers full belly coverage and comes in vibrant colors for visibility. The Complete Coverage Raincoat provides even more coverage and protection, making it an excellent option for dogs susceptible to catching a chill when damp.
During the coldest months of the year, a dog Slush Suit or Snow Suit offers full-body coverage to protect your pup from slush and snow. These winter wardrobe staples are particularly beneficial for dogs with long hair or fur prone to collecting balls of snow. And for dogs with thin coats, the ideal onesie is the dog Snow Suit because it’s fully insulated, helping them stay warm in the winter.
Visibility is key
One of the main risks of gloomy weather is poor visibility, and it’s essential to ensure drivers and other walkers can easily spot you and your dog. Plus, if your dog is easy to see, it will be easier to keep tabs on them in any off leash areas. As you shop for outerwear and other dog accessories, look for highly visible gear or brightly coloured items that will make your pup hard to miss in low-light conditions, like a reflective dog winter jacket.
The Complete Coverage Raincoat is constructed from reflective fabric that is designed to help your pup stay visible in all conditions. Alternatively, the Torrential Tracker dog rain jacket and the Snow Suit come in bright colors that are hard to miss! A Dog Walking Safety Light is a practical addition to your pup’s gear at any time of year– it clips to your dog’s collar, leash, or harness, making your dog easily visible even at night!
Be mindful of cold, slippery surfaces
Should dogs wear shoes in the rain? Don’t overlook the impact of cold, slippery surfaces on your dog’s paws. Though dogs are very resilient, icy surfaces (and the chemical salts used to clear them) are tough on their paws, and prolonged exposure could even leave them susceptible to frostbite.
Additionally, slippery conditions like mud and ice can make it difficult for your dog to keep their footing, making it stressful to walk or play. Poor traction is especially challenging for older dogs, who have a higher risk of injury if they lose their grip.
Outfitting your pup with a pair of dog traction booties will protect their paws from harsh conditions while also providing additional traction in challenging conditions. Canada Pooch’s Unlined Wellies are a fantastic option for conditions like rain or mud, and the insulated Soft Shield Boots are great for dogs who need a little extra warmth– they even have a bright reflective strip around the ankle for added visibility!
Boots with a good grip and traction will give your dog the confidence to run and play just as they would in dry weather, meaning they’ll inevitably get more out of their walk. It may take a few tries to help your dog get used to wearing boots, but it is well worth the effort!
Your dog’s comfort and safety should always be top of mind when walking in any condition, including inclement weather. Fall and winter bring cold conditions, poor visibility, and slippery surfaces, which all pose risks to your dog. Fortunately, having the right mix of cozy, reflective outerwear like water-resistant dog rain jackets or dog snow gear, and non-slip dog boots will help your pup stay safe and comfortable even if the weather conditions leave something to be desired!