27 Nov 2018 7 Winter Camping Safety Tips for Dogs
Camping can be a fun activity for you and your furry ones because dogs can get bored when they’re left at home for a long time. But when the first winds of winter come and the first snowfall precipitates from up above – the number of camping trips can lessen too.
And if you and your dogs are the avid campers – winter season can mean more lazy days at home. But if you’re a smart and responsible dog owner who can protect your dog during winter camping then there’s no need to worry! Here are the top 7 winter camping safety tips for dogs to make winter seem like it’s never a hindrance when it comes to adventures with your pooches.
- Consult Your Vet
Synonymous to leaving your dogs under the scorching heat for a long time, exposing your dog in the winter weather for a long time can also pose serious threats to their health especially if they already have existing health conditions. One such example is arthritis. If your dog has arthritis, winter can worsen in the cold season. The cold weather can increase stiffness in your dog’s muscles, bones, or joints which can sometimes lead to slips especially when you’re out and about in the wilderness. Bring your dog to the vet and let the vet call the shots if your dog is ready for winter camping.
- Protect the Paws with Snow Boots
Your dog’s paws have a higher probability of sticking onto icy roads or trails or accumulating ice between the toes which is dangerous and can lead to injuries. I suggest you buy snow boots before you set out to camp. Choosing the right snow boots is also essential. Here are some tips to buy the right winter shoes for your dogs:
- Choose thicker and waterproof materials to ensure that your dog’s paws are warm all the time. Waterproof shoes are also advisable so the melted ice can’t seep into your dog’s shoes.
- Make sure you get the right shoe size. Let your dog try the shoes out. If for any reason, you can’t bring your dog to the store, trace its four paws on a piece of paper – just like how people do it. A wrong shoe size is either too tight or too loose causing discomfort and slip-offs.
- The boots should also be soft enough to give maximum comfort during hiking in between camping.
- Choose boots that have a good sole traction. This will help prevent your dog from slipping into slippery or wet trails.
- Buy high-quality materials. Don’t be frugal when choosing boots for your dog. Never compromise quality over price as this means compromising your dog’s health as well.
- Be Careful of Antifreeze
An antifreeze spill is a common cold weather poison that can be detrimental to your dog when it sticks to their paws, legs, chest or fur. Your dog can be poisoned when they lick antifreeze spills and other toxic winter chemicals. Always wipe your dog down from the neck, body, and tail to the legs and paws.
- Keep Your Dog Warm
Always keep your dog warm during the entire camping adventure even when hiking. If your pooch is a winter dog, it’s obviously more tolerant of the cold weather. But if your dog has a relatively thinner coat, it may be good to get him a jacket. Don’t get your dog just any kind of coat or jacket, choose one that’s weatherproof, waterproof, and breathable to allow a free range of motion during the entire trip.
Also look out for signs of hypothermia like shivering, whining, anxiety, noticeably slowing down, weakness, or when your dog stops moving. Get them to a vet immediately.
- Pick a Good Trail for Your Dog
This is when you also set out to hike before camping. You must anticipate that the trails, during the winter season, may be covered in deep powdery snow. Check the snow and weather conditions and call the right people to ask about the trail. Consider if your dog can hike in deep snow and how long the hike is. It can get a bit exhausting when your dog is always hauling itself out of the chest-deep snow during the entire hike.
- Choose a Dog-Friendly Campsite
I have seen this scenario in numerous online videos: A dog struggling to stay afloat in a frozen lake or pond. Choose a campsite that’s safe for your furry friend. Avoid frozen lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water nearby. Your dog might roam around and get into an accident by falling into the icy water.
- Take Breaks if Your Dog Needs to and Hydrate
If you’re hiking near the campsite, take as many breaks as often as your dog needs. Bring a collapsible water bowl so you can make sure your dog is hydrated all the time. Also, never underfeed your dogs during an adventure. More activities make them thirstier and hungrier.
Last but not least, if the weather gets extremely cold when you’re camping with your furry companions, don’t forget to snuggle – this is the best part!
Author Bio: Kerry Brooks is a passionate travel & outdoor blogger who loves to travel and write about her experience. She spends her free time hiking, swimming, camping and spending time with her family. She also blogs at GearJunior which is a site filled with outdoor tips and guides.