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Archive for January, 2013

Hit the Slopes with the Dog

January 20, 2013 1 comment

Is your dog fit to join you on your weekend snow get away?

Beyond your dog’s personality and how much you know he’ll enjoy the snow, its important to consider their bodies.  Here are a few of the considerations to see if your pooch is ready for the trip.

dog, snowman on his head

  • Size: Small dogs have a more difficult time both maintaining body temperature and navigating even shallow snow depths.  If you have an emergency, can you carry home your large dog?  It may seem ridiculous now, its important to remember we wear our seat belts for the accidents, not the uneventful drive.
  • Coat: Thinner coats may need supplementing with a sweater and jacket.  Not all dogs are built to brave the extreme temperatures on this planet.  Even large breeds with undercoats may be cold in certain situations.  Its important to consider the situation for each outing.
  • Age: Just like us, the very old and the very young have a harder time in colder weather.   Keep the old and young home with the sitter this trip, they’ll thank you for it.  Their bodies are more fragile than their stronger adult dog friends, increasing the risk of trouble on your trip.
  • Pad condition: Some dogs have soft, supple paws while others are more tough and thick.  Using shoes (boots) can help a dog with soft pads endure the cold, wet and extra abrasive surfaces, if your dog will tolerate them.
  • Gear: Do you have the right gear?  Some basics are: water, leash, harness (not a collar,) and coats and boots as needed.  Additional items to explore are: a GPS collar attachment, Ruffwear’s Beacon light, and pocket first aid kit.

If you find yourself really getting out there and off the beaten path, consider taking avalanche training course and inquiring about additional tips for handling emergencies with dogs.  If the dogs are joining you for the trip, but not the trek, find a reputable local pet sitter or doggy day care.

Do you have a great tip for dogs in the snow?  Share them in the comments.

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