Walking your dog in all weathers has many benefits. Physically and mentally, exercise is important for your dog, and you also get the added benefits when you take your dog for a walk. All weather walking helps with socialising your dog as they become used to different smells, textures, sensations and temperatures. They will be less likely to have an accident inside or display destructive behaviour if you take them for regular walks. We can’t control the weather, especially in New Zealand, but we can control how we react and adapt to it. Read on for just a few tips on making the most of any weather conditions as we venture out with our dogs.
Walking your dog in any weather
I love going out for a walk in the rain, my dog not so much but he will still go. I believe going for walks in the rain is one of the most important parts of my dog’s training to keep up.
Imagine a dog that won’t go out to the toilet in the garden no matter how desperately he/she needs to go. It’s an image, and a mess, that I for one would rather not think about. Obviously we are not recommending you go out in a massive storm or in thunder and lightning but, for the most part, walking in the rain can be a safe and fun activity. Having the right gear is vital. If you don’t have the right wet weather gear then you won’t want to go out in the rain and neither will your dog. A top tip is to leave some towels at the front door before you go out. This means as soon as you return you can dry and clean your dog off before you enter the rest of the house. As my dog is a small dog, and therefore close to the ground, he wears a raincoat in bad weather. This helps keep his body dry and warm but also helps the cleanup go faster when we get home. Its much easier to clean all the dirt and grime, that ends up on his underside, off of his fabric coat, rather than his fur. A quick rub down and clean of his paws and he is good to go. Note: - I also close my bedroom doors before I leave the house or he would dry himself all over our bed sheets.
We need to be mindful of the effects of the strong New Zealand summer sun on our dogs. Hot pavements can cause excruciating pain and damage to the pads on your dog’s feet. Also, dog’s bodies aren’t as efficient as our human ones in regulating our body temperature and so it is easy for them to overheat. This is especially true in older dogs. All that being said, we can still take our dogs for walks during the summer months, we just need to be a bit clever about it. Take your dog out early in the morning and late in the evening, when both the surfaces and air temperature are much cooler. Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water and consider taking your dog out for shorter walks. This is particularly important with dogs who have breathing difficulties, which can be exacerbated in the heat.
Seriously? Are you kidding me? You’ve seen dogs hang out car windows having the time of their lives. Rug up and you will be all set to go on an adventure together. Although, the other day when I was out, I did wonder if my dog was going to blow away. He was loving it though.
Walking in the wind is a great way to clear your head and practice your Beyonce impersonation.
Just imagine all the interesting smells that the wind can rustle up, the sight of leaves and other objects flying through the air, and the different sensations that your dog will feel all over their body as you go on your windy walk. The opportunities for enrichment on windy days are not to be underestimated.
Now, we don’t really get snow up here in Auckland, but we thought it worth mentioning for our followers further south. Most importantly, layer up, both of you. Take consideration of your dog breed, some are more tolerant of the snow than others, so do your research. Dogs are prone to fall and slip on icy stairs and pathways just as much as we are, so shovel the snow from these areas before you venture out. De-icing salt reacts with snow to cause severe discomfort and burns to dogs paws. It is possible to buy pet safe de-icer in New Zealand and we would certainly recommend it. Not all people will be using this so it is still important to wash your dogs paws thoroughly when you get home.
You can also buy dog boots or paw wax to protect them. As with the summer, provide plenty of fresh water. It’s easy to get dehydrated as we exercise and sweat underneath all our winter gear. When you get home, remove as much of the snow as you can from your dog. This will allow then to warm up quicker and will help to prevent the licking, chewing and scratching behaviours that come from trying to remove the snow that is irritating their skin.
Basically, what we are trying to say is get out there and enjoy yourselves, no matter the weather!