As the winter season starts to thaw and spring approaches, it’s time to shake off the hibernation blues and get back into the groove of regular walks with your furry friend. After months of chilly weather and shorter days, both you and your dog might be feeling a bit sluggish. However, with some careful planning and patience, you can ease back into your walking routine and enjoy the great outdoors together. Let’s go over some tips and tricks to help you and your pet transition back to regular walks without overdoing it.
Just like humans, dogs need time to readjust to physical activity after a period of inactivity. Begin your dog walking routine with short walks around the block or in your backyard to gauge your dog’s stamina and comfort level. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of the walks as your pet gets stronger.
Watch for Signs of Fatigue
Pay close attention to your dog’s body language during walks. Signs of fatigue or discomfort include lagging behind, excessive panting, and reluctance to continue walking. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to give your pet a break and allow them to rest.
Choose the Right Time of Day
During the winter thaw, temperatures can fluctuate, so it’s essential to choose the right time of day for your walks. Aim for mid-morning or mid-afternoon when temperatures are milder and the ground is less likely to be icy. Avoid walking during the early morning or late evening when temperatures are lowest.
While dogs have fur coats to keep them warm, some breeds may need extra protection in colder weather. Consider investing in a doggy sweater or coat to keep your pet comfortable during walks. Additionally, protect your pet’s paws from snow and ice by using paw balm or booties.
Be Mindful of Road Conditions
As the snow melts, sidewalks and roads can become slippery and hazardous. Watch out for patches of ice and puddles that could pose a danger to you and your pet. Stick to cleared pathways whenever possible and avoid walking near busy roads.
Keep Your Dog Leashed
Even if your dog is well-trained, it’s crucial to keep them leashed during walks, especially in unfamiliar areas. With melting snow and new scents emerging, your pet may be more prone to wandering off. Keep them safe by using a sturdy leash and harness.
Make walks enjoyable for your dog by bringing along their favorite treats. Rewarding good behavior with treats will reinforce positive walking habits, but be careful not to give them too many and use very small training treats.
Even in cooler weather, it’s essential to keep your pet hydrated during walks. Bring along a collapsible water bowl and offer water regularly, especially if you’re walking for an extended period.
Consider Indoor Activities
On particularly cold or snowy days, consider engaging in indoor activities to keep your pet active and entertained. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and indoor agility courses are great ways to stimulate your dog’s mind and body.
Consult Your Veterinarian
If your dog has been inactive for an extended period or has any underlying health conditions, consult your veterinarian before starting a new dog walking routine. They can provide guidance on the appropriate level of activity for your pet and offer personalized recommendations.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.