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Husky lying in the snow on a mountain

Winter Hikes With Your Dog

Essential tips on enjoying safe hiking adventures with your dog

12.1.2023

If you want to take your dog for a hike through a wintry landscape, there are a few important points to consider so your dog will really enjoy the experience too.

Follow these guidelines: 

1. Winter-suitable dog

  • not every dog is suited to hikes on slippery, snow-covered paths
  • your dog must be physically fit
  • puppies and elderly dogs should stay at home

2. Slowly increase your hiking distances

  • tailor your hikes to the needs of the individual dog: start with shorter distances and see how well your dog copes
  • the distance can be increased gradually (always based on your dog’s needs)

3. Paw protection

  • paw pads must be kept supple
  • wash the paws after every hike
  • buy dog shoes if necessary

4. Suitable dog clothing

  • only necessary for dogs that get cold quickly
  • clothing must be moisture-repellent and warm
  • check the weather forecast in advance to make sure your dog wears the right clothing

5. Check your dog for signs of freezing

  • your dog feels unwell, trembles and walks slowly, takes a cramped posture
  • stop hiking immediately, go with your dog to a warm place and take steps to warm them up

6. Take water and a bowl with you

  • carry water in an insulated bottle so it doesn’t freeze
  • eating snow is not a good alternative to drinking water, as it can be harmful to your dogs’ stomach

7. Take winter-proof snacks and food with you

  • if necessary, carry snacks in your trousers or in the inside pocket of your jacket (body heat prevents them from hardening)
  • the snacks and food must meet your dog’s calorie requirements during the hike
  • don’t forget a bowl

8. Insulated pad

  • your dog can lie on this during rest breaks, as direct contact with the cold ground should be avoided (though this depends on the breed: Nordic dogs can handle lying on snow)

9. Leash and chest harness

  • keep your dog on a leash in high-risk areas so that it can’t put itself in danger (see 10 below)

10. Caution in areas with lakes, streams and the risk of avalanches

  • familiarise yourself with the hiking terrain: frozen lakes can be dangerous if the ice cover is too thin; streams may not be easy to see under a layer of snow; avoid avalanche areas altogether

11. First aid kit

  • for medical issues that could occur in winter (such as paw injury caused by ice)

12. Ignoring skiers and snowboarders

  • train your dog beforehand not to regard skiers and snowboarders as quarry to be chased

Identification and Registration (I&R)

Make sure your dog is microchipped and registered so you and your dog can be reunited more easily if you get separated during the hike.

Dog standing in the snow

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