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Off-Leash Winter Walks

Walking your dog can be a most rewarding experience for both you and your pet. It is a time to bond and a time to play, but there are some serious considerations to take during the winter, especially if your friend is off-leash.

Off-leash parks and trails are very popular and a great way for well-trained dogs to exercise, practice their obedience and meet new friends. Now make no mistake, this is not a warning against off-leash dog walking.

It’s a warning of the dangers of snowstorms.

If you regularly read our news, you’ll remember that we wrote about “Winter Walks” in another article on November 22nd, providing tips on how to keep your friend warm and safe on your daily excursions. But not every day is a winter wonderland, sometimes the weather is downright nasty and this can cause problems for your pet when off-leash.

When a dog is off-leash on snow or ice, it can be difficult for them to keep their bearings and they can lose their scent. This is less of a problem in a smaller enclosed area such as many off-leash parks, however, if your pet is able to wander too far they can easily become lost. During a snowstorm when the wind is blowing and new snow is continually covering the ground, the dangers are increased. Pets can even become disoriented and lost on their own property during a snowstorm, it’s best not to take your chances with off-leash walks.

The number of dogs lost in Canada dramatically increases in the winter months. Consider the following for your snowy walks:

  • If it’s a snowstorm, stay indoors and only let your pet outside to void
  • If snowing and on a walk, do not let your pet off-leash, keep them at your side
  • Ensure your dog is wearing their ID tags at all times and that their information is up-to-date
  • Have your pets microchipped for permanent identification, available at through your veterinarian and scannable everywhere

Avoid unnecessary trips to the Emergency Vet for hypothermia and the fear and dread associated with a lost pet. Avoid off-leash walks in the snow.