5 Dog Safety Tips for Winter Hikes

Furry friends like exploring in the winter wilderness just as much as you do, so don't leave them at home. Instead, prepare Fido for a cold-weather hike. Grab the right gear, choose an appropriate trail, and keep these dog safety tips in mind as you make your way through the snow.

More: 5 Ways to Enjoy Nature This Winter

1. Gear Up Your Pup

When it comes to dog safety on a winter trail, there are only a few pieces of gear you really shouldn't go without. There are also a number of optional items you can use depending on your dog, the amount of snow and the length of the hike. Consider what your pup needs:

Easy-to-see leash: Keep your dog from disappearing into the snowy landscape with a bright orange, green or yellow leash.

Collapsible bowl: Use this for both food and water, or bring two. Your pup still needs to hydrate in the winter. Having to work harder to walk in the snow means they're burning more calories, too, so bring a few treats to help your pup stay energized.

More: Essential Dog Gear for Outdoor Adventures

Optional:

  • Booties: These help your dog stay comfortable on a longer hike by keeping snow out from between their paws.
  • Flashing collar: If you want to let your pup off leash, these come in handy.
  • Jacket: If your dog gets cold easy, or has minimal fur, this will help keep them warm.

2. Choose a Dog-Friendly Trail

While this is important at all times of the year, in terms of dog safety, some winter trails just aren't appropriate for a furry hiker. Look for a trail that's dog-friendly all year round, and then check snow and weather conditions. Consider:

  • How much snow is on the trail; can your dog hike in deep snow?
  • How long is the hike; can your dog make it from start to finish in the cold?

More: 4 Tips for Hiking With Your Dog

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