Ah winter in Hoboken! It’s not the short and sweet belle of holiday time but that long and loveless beast of heck-no tundra from January through March. You know, the one you have to talk yourself into as you walk out the door bundled up to your shaking brows. Oh yes, that winter. It makes walking your dog a task you want to leave to your Hoboken dog walker. Don’t worry; we’ll be right here ready to spring into superhero action. Plus, we’ve got some awesome advice for you to make walking with your pupster on Hoboken’s chilly streets as fun and safe as possible. Do you know the eight winter tips for walking your dog in Hoboken?
Stop & Take Stock
Before you leave home, get the scoop on how bad the weather’s going to be in Hoboken. Trust us. Spending a few moments Googling if it’s above or below freezing and what the windchill is and then getting geared up will be the difference between you and your dog skipping all the way to Washington Street or sprinting home. Apps like Dark Sky even tell you what minute the cold and wet will hit and for how long. Also, make sure to subscribe to the City of Hoboken and the Hudson County Office of Emergency Management. You’ll receive crucial real-time notifications on winter weather advisories and (yikes) warnings.
Gear Up Your Pup
If your dog isn’t a breed for a Discovery Channel Alaskan mush, get outdoor apparel for them that’s as cozy and warm as what you’ve bought for yourself. There are so many cool options and features out there for your dog, from swaggin’ coats, stylin’ jackets and stinkin’ cute sweaters, to snaps and zippers, and don’t get us started on all the fancy materials. Think waterproof for wet days, cozy fleece for dry days and that soft hoodie just because they’re so darn yummy in it. Also, make sure to put booties on your dog if their paws are sensitive to the cold or to the de-icing salts tossed onto Hoboken’s sidewalks whenever it snows.
Don’t Pedal to Metal
Metal poses several risks to dogs during winter walks. Firstly, if your pup were to lick or walk across an ice-caked metal surface they could become stuck and harm themselves. Secondly—and this is the scary one—coming into contact with frozen metal items like lamp posts or electrical boxes could actually electrocute your pet. Winter’s moist conditions, abundance of street salt, and tendency to interfere with electrical wiring all make for a dangerous combination. Just to be safe, steer clear of metal and metal surfaces when dog walking in winter.
Don’t Let Your Pup Eat Snow
There’s no telling what’s in or underneath the snow you come across during winter walks—which is why letting your pup eat snow is a big no-no. Antifreeze, toxic pesticides, harmful de-icing salts, animal waste, sharp objects—all could be lurking in the snow your pup tries to lick or eat. Even plain old snow can make your pup sick. Winter blap disease, which happens as a result of abundant snow consumption, can cause intestinal distress like vomiting and diarrhea.
Drink Plenty of Water
One way to keep your pup from eating snow on walks is to thoroughly hydrate them beforehand. Winter’s frigid temperatures have a way of drying out your pup. Not to mention that winter gear like sweaters and booties can rob your pup of much needed moisture. Always give your dog access to plenty of water before and after winter walks.
Look Out for Ice
Even the smallest sheet of ice can spell trouble for you and your pup. In addition to sharp edges potentially cutting your dog’s paws, a fall by either of you could cause injury to both of you. Take it slow, and always watch out for places where icy surfaces might be hiding.
Bag the Poop
Somehow somewhere dog owners got the idea they didn’t have to bag their pup’s poop during winter. This is not a good idea, nor a healthy one. While snow might hide the mess momentarily, dog poop becomes a problematic issue once the weather heats up again. Bacteria, pests and disease can all result from improperly disposed of dog poop. Keep your community safe and clean by always bagging dog poop—especially in winter.
Use the Sidewalk
As we’ve mentioned, snow can hide items that could harm your pet—like ice, sharp objects or chemicals. Considering this, we suggest sticking to sidewalks when doing your daily winter stroll. Plus, the dryer your pup stays the warmer they’ll stay, too. Playing in snow is certainly fine if you know the area and understand the safety concerns. But if you’re looking to maximize your dog’s exercise, sidewalks are the way to go.
Have Towels Ready
A dry towel by the front door after a winter walk is a must. Not only will it spare your carpet mud, snow and other messes, it’ll help warm your pup up after a chilly walk. Ice, snow, and salt can easily get lodged between your dog’s toes and throughout their coat when playing in the cold. Thoroughly toweling them off afterward is an important final step in keeping your dog safe and warm.
Flea and Tick Protection
Remember: Flea and ticks still bite in winter. Protect from bites by applying a naturally-sourced insect repellent to both you and your pup before starting your daily walk.
No matter how bundled up your pup is they’re going to get cold at some point, which is why paying attention to their body language is key. Watch closely, looking out for signs that your dog is becoming too cold or uncomfortable. Failure to notice such signs could have serious consequences, such as hypothermia or frostbite. Here’s what you need to look out for:
Barking, whining or any other verbal sign of discomfort
Suddenly stops playing or moving—Your dog could be uncomfortable, or their pads might be hurting from snow or ice exposure
Signs of Hypothermia in dogs: Intense shivering, lethargy, shallow breathing, loss of appetite, muscle stiffness, weak pulse
Signs of Frostbite in dogs: Red, gray, blue, white or pale skin; shriveled skin; pain in the ears, tail, paws or other extremities; skin that remains cold to the touch
Thoughtfully use these must-have tools to train your Hoboken puppy and build a loving bond, and if you need us, we’re happy to help you as Hoboken puppy trainers and care experts.
Thank you for reading!