Plan for a Safe Winter Hike with your Dog
When the cold North winds begins to blow its time to put a little preparation into your winter woodland hikes with your pooch. If you are hiking into unknown territory which is not very active with other humans, then go to the local county site and try to become familiar with the area and secure a map. If there is nothing online then you might be able to pull in something off Google. Select terrain and trail loop distances relevant to your physical condition and skill as well as your dogs age and condition. From November to April its best to best to avoid areas with deep or fast water. Be cautious of potential hazards like semi frozen ponds covered in snow. Dress in clothing layers that wick, and wear water-proof footwear with good tread. Take a spare pair of gloves and sunglasses for snow-glare. For hikes that will exceed 2 hrs – Fill a back pack with energy snacks (for both you and your dog), 2 litres of fresh water in a container that won’t freeze, a collapsible bowl, a survival knife, a mini flashlight, waterproof matches, a compass, 16 -20 ft of rope, a roll of self-adhering elastic bandage and a first-aid pocket book and a rain or winter jacket for your dog. Make sure your mobile device is charged. A compass will come in real handy when your lost and the sun goes down and your mobile phone cannot secure a signal. Tell someone exactly where you are going and approx when you expect to return. For dogs with short coats a winter jacket is a valuable item to bring along – especially when your dogs tires and slows down or if there is a rapid temperature drop. Take a solid leash (not a zip line). Prior to a lengthy hike work on recall with your dog . Use training treats and bring them on the hike and make sure your dog knows you have them. Planning for a winter excursion can make all the difference between a pleasant outing and a survival experience.