If you don’t want to go outside because of the weather, it’s likely that your dog doesn’t want to either. Really… who wants to head out in to high winds or downpours or freezing cold? (Besides that slightly crazy husky…and we jest; we love all dogs around here.) That said there is a lot we can do when we’re dog walking in bad weather.
Remember that you can shorten that walk… as in to the end of the block or driveway and back if it’s bad out but you still want to get a few steps in. Not every walk has to be a hike. A little fresh air and a quick potty stop can be enough on some days.
If you’re confused about what to do in cases of bad weather, one way you can decide is this simple question: Have schools closed for the day? If the snowstorm, for example, is bad enough for that, then maybe quick visits to your yard are more than enough that day.
Before we get started, keep in mind: You know your dog and their specific breed. These are just general recommendations. If you’re not sure, ask an expert. (You can ask us any dog related questions you have!)
(NOTE: We are not affiliated with any products we share here.)
When not to walk your dog and things to consider
- obviously if there’s any kind of weather warning, that’s not a walking moment.
- and weather warnings are not just about snow and rain and wind. Consider how hot it is outside. Anything over 80 degrees is generally considered too hot to put your dog through any kind of exercise. Your dog’s comfort is not the same as yours.
- same with the cold. You might think they’re bundled enough, but really, once you get into the teens and lower, a walk is not a great idea.
Never feel bad about missing one day here and there when it comes to your dog’s walks. A rest day is great for everyone. And if you’re dog is an anxious sort, maybe every day walks aren’t for them. As long as they get enough potty breaks and play in other ways and get mental stimulation, you’re being a great caretaker.
Dog Walking in Rain
- depending on your dog’s coat, you might want to consider a rain coat. You can find some fun ones here.
- consider rain boots. Keeping your dog’s paws dries can prevent bacterial infections, cracked paws, and more.
- make sure you and your dog are visible. Wear something bright and/or reflective.
- keep the walk shorter than usual. This one seems obvious.
- have alternate routes planned out for rainy weather if you tend to walk where it might get muddy or slippery.
- don’t let your dog drink out of rain puddles as much as they will want to. That puddle can be swimming with dirt and bacteria.
- there are waterproof leashes that will not be slick when you grasp them. Have one on hand.
- finally, dry your dog thoroughly when you get home.
Dog Walking in the Snow
- a lot of the same suggestions apply, including looking into a coat if your dog’s coat is not thick. Here are winter appropriate ones.
- you could also consider dog goggles to protect their eyes from the cold wind. Look here if you want your dog to look uber cool. ((ha))
- again, booties would be helpful but you’ll want something heavier and with some traction.
- shorten your walks in the winter. Keep them under 30 minutes, but, again, keep them even shorter to non-existence when the temperatures really drop.
- after your walk, dry those paws and apply some moisturizer. Yep, dog paw moisturizer can help in the winter when it tends to be dry. (Just think about your own dry skin.) Here are some examples.
- stick to sidewalks, unless your dog is specifically a cold and snow loving dog. Also, stay away from areas that have been salted.
- just like with the rain puddle, don’t let your dog eat snow. A tiny bit is nothing to worry about but just try to avoid it.
- if you’re walking around frozen water of any kind like small ponds or lakes, keep a firm grip on that leash. You never know how thick that ice is or isn’t and you don’t want your dog testing it.
- if you’re spending a decent amount of time out in the cold during the winter months, remember that being outside in the cold makes us burn more calories so adjust your dog’s feeding to reflect that increased need.
As always, have fun!