Well, the nights are drawing in now as the weather takes a turn for the cooler in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a great time to start thinking about preparing for the muddy and cold dog walks that you and your faithful canine chum are going to be undertaking.
You may well be ahead of the curve and know some of the great stuff I will be outlining here, but I am sure even the most knowledgeable of my readers will pick up at least one great tip or idea…I am sure of that!
With that in mind, let’s start off with a “Top Tip”
As the nights get colder it can be a great idea to think about any drafts that may be creeping in your home via under door or window. As our dogs are generally floor dwellers ( unless you have a Greyhound like me and he insists on the couch!), it can be cooler for them.
A good way is getting some of those snake door blockers or just use some blankets rolled up that can make the room more snug and will make you warmer too..so it’s a win win!
Some dogs can be more effected by cooler weather..my Greyhound Wilson for instance is a very skinny, thin coated dude so my wife and I have always made sure that our Greyhound have had a decent winter coat, fur lined and it makes a huge difference when we walk him.
Also, if we do get a brighter day or you think that your dog may getting warm on a walk, a coat can always be taken off.
Reflective clothing is something that is essential for you and your dog when out walking and as the nights draw in, it is something that you should really consider as a priority.
As it’s getting darker from September, you will be out in the dark and as a result it’s a good idea to make sure you are more vigilant.
Avoid wearing headphones especially in more rural, quieter countryside areas when you may be on your own. Also let folk know where you are going. It will be darker so don’t take any unnecessary risks.
It’s easy for us humans to get out our trusted winter clothing and walking boots when it starts getting colder and wetter underfoot, but our dogs paws are left very exposed and vulnerable to these elements.
We are approaching the season of ice and salted pavements and roads and this has an added hazard of the same surfaces being covered in chemicals that have been used to negate this and all of this can cause our dogs feet to be hugely damaged and stressed.
Dogs feet, healthy paws are meant to be hydrated and flexible…spongy to allow them to grip and avoid injury.
To maintain this, it is of great benefit to you beloved canine to inspect their paws regularly and use a protection balm on them.
The balms provide layers of nourishing ingredients to help protect and heal dry or cracked paws and as well as pets noses and brittle nails, it will provide an invisible barrier against the elements.
Look for balms with no added essential oils and the more natural the better.
When it rains, my boy does not like to go out!
A familiar story for may of us I am sure. However, interactive toys can really help with their possible boredom and although no substitute for a decent walk, if the weather is really bad..it can be a great way for your dog to burn off some energy.
Mental stimulation is an important factor for your dog and like humans, keeping the brain sharp and focused is never a bad thing.
Dogs have natural hunting instincts and these should never be discouraged as it’s what makes them dogs.
Popping treats inside of dog toys can be good for them to try to work out how to get it out and this can be a great way to burn off energy.
Dogs can get seasonal adjustment disorder…a bit like some of us humans get. With that in mind, keep an eye on any changes in behaviour that your dog may display as some do not like the darker nights and shorter days.
Any signs that concern you, a visit to the vets is essential.
Colder weather can bring skin condition changes and joint problems, so again, if you notice anything a trip to the experts is advised.
In the UK we have Bonfire night fast approaching and many pets get stressed out with fireworks, there are many calming products on the market. I would advise something as natural as possible.
I have used lavender candles in my home and this works for my dogs. It’s cheap and has a nice scent that seems to make them calm.
Playing louder music when you think that there maybe fireworks is also a good masker.
It’s going to get darker at both ends of the day so take out a torch with you on your walk.
Head-torches are great especially for picking up you dog’s doings and as they are hand free that will make all the difference. Trust me, picking up dog doo in the dark is not funny..you need both hands!
Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear too as the terrain that you know all too well will change dramatically and knock you off guard.
We take our dog walking serious as serious dog owners, but a path or sidewalk that you know well can easily become dangerous if you become complacent.
Also, as a foot note as the colder mornings arrive please be extra vigilant with car anti-freeze.
It is highly, highly toxic to dogs and sadly for us and them, they love the stuff. So keep it out of reach of our four legged friends. Also be aware of spillages and any residue on paths or by your cars tyres etc.
All in all, with a few of these basic yet sometimes forgotten tips, your autumn or fall walks will be just as enjoyable.