“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  ~John Muir

There’s nothing like taking a walk on a crisp winter day with your dog. Not only does it burn energy for both of you, but at a time when most people are happy to stay bundled up indoors, the true nature-lovers (human and dog alike) find sights, smells and sounds that winter brings to be a delight. Follow these tips to make your outdoor time most enjoyable.

If you takeBailey your dog hiking in wooded areas, be sure to:

  • make sure dogs are allowed at your designated hiking spot, and obey the leash laws—yes, they apply to you, too
  • pick up your dog’s waste, even if he doesn’t “doo” it on or near the trail
  • keep your dog from disturbing wildlife or other hikers
  • work on his known obedience commands to keep him fresh

While walking on city streets:

  • beware of icy, snowy/slick areas which can cause a fall
  • consider having your pooch wear a sweater if he has short fur or doesn’t get out much
  • the salt substance used to de-ice roadways can burn your dog’s paw pads, so rinse them well and dry with a towel when you get home
  • work on his known obedience commands to keep him fresh

Regardless of venue, take lots of water for you and your dog. Dehydration is more prevalent in winter because we don’t always feel thirsty like in summer, but we are constantly losing precious fluids with exercise. AIMG_1185lso, check between the dog’s paw pads often to remove ice or snow that may have caked and frozen there.

Notice the sights around you! Bare tree branches create interesting patterns against blue sky, especially at sunup or twilight. Certain species of plants only bloom in the wintertime (such as Camellia, Winter jasmine, and Winter honeysuckle). Look for interesting, colorful bark and berries, too. Evergreens stand out in the otherwise stark landscape. Small wild animals like birds and squirrels are easier to spot, too.

Dogs often seem friskier in the colder air, especially those with thick coats who overheat too quickly in hotter weather. They’ll keep you on your toes! Though we don’t get to experience it much here in Georgia, watching dogs frolic in snow is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Enjoy!