A typical one-mile walk with your dog around Thorndon Country Park or Mountnessing Park will help you burn off around 100 calories. Now that Christmas is out of the way, you’re probably wanting to increase your physical activity to drop the festive pounds that you and your hound have put on. After all, a recent study found that between January and March, participants’ weight was still 0.35% higher than it was before Christmas. But with another ‘Beast from the East’ forecast with sub-zero temperatures and excessive snow, is it safe to go on winter walks with your pooch?
Adjust the time that you’re out
All dogs need regular walks, even in the winter, so it’s important that you do it in a way that’s safe for both of you. Some dogs, such as Huskies, love the cold weather and won’t mind being out for hours in the snow. Other breeds won’t be so keen. You should adjust the length of your walks, depending on your dog’s breed, size, tolerance to the cold, age, and health. The Metro reports that -10°C is too cold for almost every dog. Small and medium dogs shouldn’t be walked when the weather outside is below -4°C whereas large breeds are generally okay up to -9°C. You may need to take shorter, more frequent walks in the winter. It’s usually warmer in built-up areas, such as Brentwood high street rather than Warley Country Park.
Wrap up warm
A winter walk without a coat is no fun for humans or dogs. The PDSA advises that dogs with fine fur should wear a coat in the winter. A dog will enjoy a walk wearing a coat and snood and these items will keep your dog comfortable when he’s exploring Brentwood in the cold. Bootees are also a good way to keep your dog’s paws toasty. They’ll also protect them from winter dangers, such as antifreeze, salt, and other chemicals. These are dangerous to dogs if ingested. If you forget the bootees or your dog refuses to wear them, wash your dog’s paws after each walk as a precaution.
Keep your dog on a lead
Off-lead walking is beneficial for dogs as it encourages exploration and can use up more of a dog’s energy. Save off-lead walking for the nice weather rather than the winter, though. Icy and snowy conditions can make it difficult for a dog to see. They’re also more likely to lose their bearings as things won’t look the same as usual. Walks near lakes, such as the one in Weald Country Park, can be dangerous for dogs off-lead too. There’s always a chance that the weight of a dog will cause the ice to crack, leading to an accident.
The best thing you can do for your dog is give it lots of walks around Brentwood and the surrounding area. But in the winter, you need to take extra precautions to keep yourself and your pooch happy and healthy on your regular walks.