Even though the colder months have arrived and will be here for a while, your dog will still need to get a healthy amount of exercise. Here are four tips to make sure your pet can still be walkin’ in a winter wonderland:
1) Make the walks short and sweet
You want to make sure your dog has a normal walking routine, even in the Chicago cold, but sometimes that’s not always an option. You can still take your dog out, or even have a Chicago dog walker do it, but keep the walk brief. If your dog starts to look anxious, whine or considerably slow down, make sure you take it inside as soon as possible.
2) Make sure your dog doesn’t try to eat or drink anything dangerous
As dogs are walking, they may be tempted to drink whatever is on the ground, but this could be dangerous. Common chemicals on the ground during wintertime, like antifreeze, can be deadly to dogs, so make sure they stay clear of any suspicious-looking liquid. You should even beware if your dog tries to lick its own paws—they could be coated in rock salt or other chemicals that could make it sick. You should either make sure your dog is wearing winter boots, or wash its feet as soon as you return home.
3) Choose the right leash
During the winter as you’re walking your dog around slippery Chicago, you’ll want to make sure your dog is protected from sliding or falling. To do this, consider how much traction you have. If you think you might be likely to fall, your dog could go down right with you, so you might want a waist leash and/or traction-providing dog boots to minimize the risk harm.
4) Feed the dog extra calories
If your dog is taking a lengthier walk, be sure he or she is getting extra fuel from food. Dogs require extra energy in the winter to stay warm while exercising, so if your dog is going on the same length of walks he or she did during the summer, you may need to compensate with a little extra food—ask your vet for advice.
At the same time, make sure your dog is adequately hydrated. Dogs need as much water during the winter as they do during the summer to prevent dehydration. Make sure your dog has had enough water both before and after the walk. You or your Chicago dog walker may even want to bring a water bottle along just in case.