Every year it is like the birth of something new for a lot of us. We watch the weather guys predict our first snow as if it’s some major life changing event that will affect every part of our lives. And when you work outside every day, it kind of does. The first time it falls down and covers Lexington’s large oak trees and sprinkles on the homes around Fayette county, it’s a postcard for winter in Kentucky. It really can be beautiful in the winter here in Kentucky. However when you work outside and in are in a profession that keeps you outside more than most, you have to take the changing winter weather with a little more caution, especially since we are dealing with furry precious paws and pets that can’t tell us how they are feeling.
We have recently updated our winter weather policy. You can check it out HERE
This blog isn’t so much about that. You can review in detail how we deal with extrme weather through the previous link. However most days we are out. We provide a service and no matter what the weather, we agree to walk. We may be cold and that’s just part of what we agreed to. We will bundle up. But how do we handle the dogs we walk? A few things we consider in our daily dog walking when the cold rears it’s ugly (or sometimes pretty fr short periods) head. A big consideration is breed. Some breeds love the cold. They are made for it, literally. We are constantly educating ourselves on this type of stuff so all our sitters and walkers are staying up to date on this type of information and applying it to our day to day routines. We will ask questions about individual dogs as well because they each have their own personalities. Some just are not use to it and are not happy to go out when the weather changes. In these cases we do our best to be out and get as much exercise as possible. We use the remaining time, if needed, for inside play and interaction. We try to remember just as we do in the summer months, that pet’s paws can get cold and we are aware of this as we walk in the cold weather. We check all paws before going on walks and when returning. We look for signs of distress and even check coats to make sure extra snow doesn’t get stuck in the fur and freeze their skin during or after the walk. Dogs can get dehydrated out in the cold and by eating snow so we make sure fresh water is available after the walk. SNOW is not a substitute for water! We are ALWAYS doing temp checks even inside of houses to make sure the conditions are good for your pet. Sometimes when a change comes in the weather, people can adjust thermostats too much or not enough and cause their homes to be very uncomfortable. We are likely HYPER aware of anything and everything that can affect your pet’s well being and even more so when conditions get rough.
There are products out there to help your pet in the winter mnths as well. From boots, to paw salve (we love this kind from Etsy!) to coats to make your dog’s walk as comfortable as possible. They may look at you funny when you put that cute ensemble on them, but it really can help your dog feel more comfortable in the chilly days we experience in Kentucky.
We also use certain products to help us as well. A client recently bought me YAKTRAX for my shoes after I mentioned slipping on a walk one day. These things are AWESOME! I plan on getting gifts for my walkers because these things save my days. I have a grip on any surface and am no longer scared of embarrassing myself and losing control of the dogs on a cold icy winter walk. Get these if you even walk your dog up the street once a winter, they may save a broken bone!
A few things I notice on walks as well in the winter. Some dogs have trouble going potty right away, even dogs that normally do not have an issue. I’ve attributed this to the inability to find the smells they are use to with a layer of snow or ice in their usual “go to places”. This is my non-expert opinion but often I see dogs sniff and sniff and sniff and just can’t seem to find that perfect go to pee spot. Not uncommon. You will usually figure out pretty quickly how your pet reacts to the winter weather and we figure it out just as quickly, especially with our daily clients. If you have any feedback to give your sitter or walker to help along the way- always update your profile in our online system with this kind of useful 411.