We’ve tried to run away from it, we’ve tried to resist, but winter has come. It’s not so bad once you get your long johns, two shirts, coat, boots, scarf and gloves on. Then you’ve still got the doggie to dress. You can try to avoid the ice, but every now and then, there’s nothing you can do. The walk must go on.
1. Always look ahead
A great deal of ice related accidents occur because people had no idea they were walking on ice. If you can spot ice before you step on it, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of slipping or falling, potentially on your dog. It’s a good idea to always be aware of what’s ahead of you; this applies all year.
This goes for you and your dog. Once you lose feeling in your feet, it’s very easy to miss a step. A good set of boots keeps your feet “aware” and provides additional traction.
Unless you’ve got a breed suited to winter like a Husky, you might want to consider some winter footwear for your doggie.
3. Avoid Ice With Ice Melters On It
Ice melters can be harmful to your dog’s paws and to the digestive system if they lick their paws after stepping in them. If you live on a street where ice melters are common, it might be worth buying a pair of boots to protect your dog’s paws. There are deicers that are safe for pets.
4. Walk Slowly
This one seems obvious, but it can be a subconscious decision to speed up in places we don’t want to be or places we feel uncomfortable, like a slippery sidewalk. Walking slowly and placing your feet flat can greatly reduce the risk of slipping. This will also keep your dog moving at a manageable pace.
Paw wax acts as a barrier between the paws and the freezing ground. Useful not only in the winter, it can also keep your dog’s paws from blistering in the summer from the hot pavement. Apply it before each walk to prevent your dog’s paws coming in contact with damaging elements.
6. Dunk Paws In Warm Water Before Wiping
If your dog has stepped in mud or an ice melter, the best way to wipe it off is to moisten their paws first. It can dissolve mud, ice melters and dislodge any ice that may be caught between the pads. Keeping a bucket and a cloth near the door makes it easy, soon it’ll be part of the routine.
7. Think About Your Dog’s Height
The longer your dog’s legs are, the higher their center of gravity is. This means that the taller they are, the more likely it is that they will slip if they lose their balance (leg width plays a part as well). While having 4 legs instead of 2 definitely helps, once a dogs legs start slipping outwards on ice, they’re virtually helpless. Don’t take tall thin dogs like Great Danes over large patches of ice. Remember, even small dogs can fall too.
8. Watch Your Dog
If you notice your dog is losing balance, don’t pull on the leash, this will only add another force to an unbalanced body and possibly begin a fall. Instead, give your dog your leg to lean against to regain their balance, then move slowly away from the slippery area.
If you know you’re going to fall, make sure your dog isn’t beneath you and fall down on your own terms, don’t let the ice decide for you.