Cold Weather Advice

With temperatures dropping and wintry weather on the way, our four-legged friends need extra care. Here are our tips to keep your doggy friends warm and safe on winter walks.

Keeping your dog safe this winter  

Keeping your dog warm

When the weather gets colder, let your dog's winter coat grow. Short-haired breeds, puppies or old dogs might need a winter dog coat. If you’re walking when it’s dark, make sure your dog is visible with a flashing collar or high-vis jacket.

Introducing a coat to your dog

A dog wearing a purple dog coat  Dogs can sometimes find it difficult having things placed over their heads and around their bodies. If your dog has never worn a coat or harness before, it’s important to introduce it carefully. Follow these simple steps.

1.Before you try and put the coat on your dog, lay it on the ground and put a few tasty treats on it so your dog can sniff and investigate it.

2. Once your dog is familiar with the coat, lift it and feed your dog a treat through the opening. Gradually move your hand a little further back to encourage your dog to move their nose and mouth through the opening to get their treats.

3. Once your dog is comfortable with putting their head through the coat, you can place it on their body, continuing to give them treats. If at any point your dog is uncomfortable or retreats from the coat, remove it and feed them anyway. Try again another time and take it back a step if necessary.

Once your dog is comfortable having the coat put on, they'll need to learn to get used to the feel of it and how it affects their natural movement. Scatter feeding and letting them just move around to find the treats on the ground can help to distract and reward them. If this happens every time their coat goes on, they'll soon look forward to wearing at walkies time!

Top tips for winter walks

  •  Keep your dog on a lead if it's snowing

    There may be deep patches or the snow may cover up areas that aren’t safe.

  • Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and an ID tag and is microchipped.
    It's important to ensure your microchipping database is up to date with your address and contact details. Find out how to update your dog's details.
  • Make sure you wipe your dogs legs, feet and stomach after a walk
    The grit from the roads and dampness from rain or snow can irritate their skin.
  • Never leave your dog in a car
    Whether it's hot or cold, don’t leave your dog in a car. 
  • Don’t let your dog walk on frozen ponds
    The ice may not be thick enough to take their weight. If your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go in after them. If possible, encourage them to swim back to you and call the emergency services.
  • Antifreeze is highly poisonous but tasty to dogs
    Keep it well out of their reach and mop up any spills!
  • Safety first
    Think about your own footwear when you're going out with your dog in winter, and make sure you're as visible as your dog.
  • Regularly check your dog's leads, collars and harnesses Make sure they’re all functioning safely and won’t get damaged by winter weather. If it's extra cold it can be very difficult to do up lead clips and attach them to collars and harnesses so doing this indoors is sensible! Wet weather may also make metal clips rust.

Keeping your dog active  

It can be difficult to keep dogs physically exercised during these dark evenings, especially when public parks are closed at dusk. Our tips will help keep walks fun and your dog active, even if the weather is bad:

  • Change up your walkies route

    When parks are closed you can give your dog lots of entertainment by walking different routes to your normal ones, so they can experience new sights, sounds and smells.

  • Try doggy barkour
    Incorporate some little training sessions within your walks to liven them up. Take treats with you and reward your dog for doing a trick on each street you walk down. You can also lay treat-trails for them to sniff out and follow. Or why not create doggy-parkour (barkour) using treats to guide them to circle street furniture such as benches and lampposts? You can do all these on-lead so they're always safe.
  • Play games indoors
    You can play these types of games indoors too – even hiding their toys for them to search for and playing with them as a reward when they find them.
  • Take your dog to Dog School

    Treat your dog to some fun and games that are also educational and useful by enrolling them in a Dogs Trust Dog School training course! We offer short training courses for puppies, adolescents and adult dogs teaching important skills in a fun and positive environment.

You might be spending more time indoors if the weather's very bad so always make sure your dog has plenty to do. Long-lasting tasty chews, or rubber food-releasing toys and enrichment games are useful for giving your dog something enjoyable to do that is mentally stimulating.

  A dog using a Snuffle Mat How to make a snuffle mat

Our simple DIY snuffle mat is easy, cheap to make, and will keep your dog occupied this winter.

Learn how to make it in just four simple steps.

Find out how

 

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