Experts warn of precautions pet owners should take while dog walking in the snow
The UK is in the midst of a cold snap as snow and sleet fell across England and Wales last night – and it’s left pet owners wondering if it’s safe for them to take their dogs for a walk.
And, although some dogs may love frolicking in the snow, they can also find themselves in trouble if owners don’t take the right precautions.
Some dog breeds enjoy thick coats that will keep them warm despite the freezing conditions but shorter haired dogs and especially puppies may need some assistance, according to the Dogs Trust.
If you’re concerned about keeping your pup warm, they recommend using a coat to protect against the winter chill – and say it’s easier if you try and get your dog used to the feeling of the garment before heading out on your walk.
If you have to walk your dog in the dark, the organisation recommends getting a coat that is reflective and will be highly visible to passing cars.
They also say that, even if you’re not concerned about your dog getting too cold, there are some precautions that all owners should take when walking their pooch in snowy or freezing conditions.
The Dogs Trust advise against letting your dog off the lead if there’s snow on the ground, as it’s hard to tell if the snow may be covering something dangerous on the ground – such as a hole.
They also say that you should never let your dog walk across frozen ponds or lakes as it’s tricky to tell if the ice will be thick enough to support their weight.
If your dog does fall in they strongly advise against trying to go in after them and say owners should instead encourage animals to swim back to them and to call the emergency services if need be.
Finally, the Dogs Trust are raising awareness that it can be just as dangerous to leave a dog in a car in freezing temperatures as it is on a hot day and that they advise against it no matter the weather and say it “should never be an option.”
The charity also offers a range of ideas of how to keep your dog exercised and entertained even if you or they are struggling to get out and about as much due to cold and damp winter weather.
They say it can still be beneficial to take your pooch on a shorter walk if need be and that you can keep them stimulated by changing up your daily route and that exercising your dog indoors is always a good option as well.
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