If you and your dog share an active lifestyle that includes jogging or running in Dartmouth and the surrounding Southcoast area, there’s no reason you can’t continue activity in the winter months, as long as you take precautions. Some dogs can be just as excited as people to get outdoors, so it is not unusual to see Dartmouth pet owners out exercising in the winter with their pets. Runners will frequently get out even on the coldest days, bundling up and taking care to ensure that they don’t slip on the snow, ice, and slush. However, it is just as important to protect your dog from winter and temperature-related injury if you wish to take them out running or even walking during this time of year.
Advantages of Winter Exercise for Dogs
As man’s best friend, dogs tend to get into the same lifestyle slumps as people do during the winter months. It’s cold outdoors, and we tend to want to stay inside, warm and cuddled up by the fireplace, heater, or another heat source and do nothing. Instead of hanging out in front of the television until the weather breaks, winter exercise for dogs can be a great way to ensure that you and your pet don’t pack on seasonal pounds and get unhealthy. If winter exercise is new for you and your dog, it’s a good idea to schedule a check-up at your local Dartmouth animal hospital for him and visit your physician before you start any type of new routine. Activity will help to maintain weight, keep the mind sharp, and protect overall health for both pet and owner.
Running in the winter can be great for cardiovascular health, as well as offer many other physical benefits. Finding a year-round activity that you and your dog can share can be mutually beneficial, preventing a sedentary lifestyle for you both. Consulting with your local veterinarian can ensure that your pet is healthy and up for the activity, as well as provide you with many insider tips that you can use to keep your pet safe during exercise. You want to avoid a trip to the Southeastern Massachusetts emergency vet whenever possible, preventing injuries and other health risks that might reduce your dog’s abilities or, even worse, impact their quality of life.
Prepare for Cold Weather
While this might sound like common sense, you might be surprised to learn how many people don’t think to protect their dog from the cold weather. Awareness is on the rise concerning bringing dogs out in the summertime, protecting their feet from hot pavement, and not leaving them inside cars while we run errands. However, not as many people know about cold weather protection. One thing you need to know is if it is too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog. Would you walk outdoors in the snow with bare feet and not expect to experience frostbite or another winter-related injury? Frostbite, windburns, and exposure are just some of the considerations that must be remembered with regard to winter exercise for dogs.
Hypothermia can be life-threatening, and for dogs, it doesn’t take much to become affected by it in the winter. Symptoms of hypothermia in dogs and humans are quite similar. You should always let someone know that you are going out on a run, let them know your route, and when you should be back. Keep a pace that won’t totally exhaust you or your dog, but make sure you can keep moving enough to stay warm. Running gear for humans and dogs is essential in New England. Consider where you will be running and how it might affect your dog. Consider waterproof dog booties, which protect not just from cold temperatures, but snow and ice getting between sensitive paws and causing frostbite and other injuries. Chemicals and salt used to de-ice sidewalks and driveways can also injure your pet’s paws, so check them regularly to make sure your dog is not suffering.
Recovery Plan for Post-Run Care
You and your pet both need to have a plan to get warm after a run as well. Sweat can build-up on your body and clothes, which can ultimately freeze as soon as you stop moving. Make sure you finish your run close to home so you and your dog can get warm and dry as soon as possible. Have an absorbent towel ready and consider using a waterproof sweater or coat during winter exercise for dogs to reduce the risk of freezing fur or weather-related exposure. Speak with your veterinarian at Dartmouth animal hospital for more tips that you can use to protect your pet during winter activities. Dartmouth pet owners can avoid a trip to the Southeastern Massachusetts emergency vet if they plan for cold temperatures, snow, and ice in advance. Contact Anchor Animal Hospital by calling 508-996-3731 to schedule a winter check-up or to speak with our team about tips for seasonal activities with your dog.