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Winter weather can make it difficult to get your dog out for walks, particularly if you live in a part of the country where ice, snow and freezing winds are the norm. Regardless of the weather, your dog’s exercise requirement stays constant throughout the year, and a lack of wintertime exercise can have a negative impact on your dog's behavior.
When a dog’s exercise needs aren’t met, he finds other ways to release energy, including hyperactive behavior and chewing. Such bad behavior can continue when spring rolls around and outside play is once again an option; for example, a dog who has been isolated during the winter may begin barking at other canines or people on the street. Lack of exercise is also associated with pudgy pooches and the health risks that go along with excess weight.
Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you need to skip your dog’s walking routine, although shortening the walk can be a wise choice in severe weather. As a Pug parent, shelter volunteer and trainer, I’ve found ways to make wintertime walking bearable, even in the freezing cold of Idaho. Here are some of my favorite tips for walking dogs in the winter.
By wearing the proper gear, you stay warmer and have better traction, creating a more tolerable winter walk. Dress in layers. Long underwear or layered shirts and leggings can be put underneath normal clothes to keep heat in. Heavy-duty winter coats are a must. Although they’re not the most attractive, insulated overalls are especially helpful for keeping you warm in frigid temperatures.
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