Winter activities are fun. A lot of people love skiing, snowboarding, camping, and snowshoeing in the cold weather.
But if you are a dog lover, there are limited opportunities for you to enjoy your adventure time with the snow around. I know most pet parents would love to take their pets along for their snowy adventures.
So, is there an activity that will allow you to enjoy both the worlds, a snowy landscape, and quality time with your dog? Yes, you can snowshoe with your dog!
Now, I am hearing the skeptics among you loud and clear: Can you snowshoe with your dog? Believe me; you can. It is one of the most fun and easy activities that would become your favorite during winters.
Snowshoeing is getting more and more popular day by day. It is considered one of the top winter activities in the US. In 2017, more than 3.7mn people snowshoed. Snowshoeing not only keeps you fit and healthy, but it is also a perfect activity that you can do with your dog.
Before you move ahead with your dog for snowshoeing, you need to prepare yourself for it. So in this write-up, I will give you every detail you need to know to enjoy snowshoeing with your dog.
Snowshoeing For Beginners
Now, if you have never done any snowshoeing before, let us first start with the very basics of snowshoeing before we move on to how you can do it with your pet.
Unlike snowboarding and skiing, the objective of snowshoeing is not to whizz past nature’s bounty at high speed. Snowshoeing is all about taking in the beauty of the winters. Snowshoeing offers fantastic views of snow-clad sceneries and sightlines, hiking paths, and mountain slopes.
You don’t need many things to get started. You would need appropriate winter clothes, hiking boots, and poles for better balance and safety, along with snowshoes.
Before you go, it is essential to check weather conditions as it can be dangerous if you get stuck during snowfall, and you would never want to be in a problem, especially when you are with your dog.
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Can You Snowshoe with Your Dog?
Here are some tips that you must read before you start the activity with your pal.
# Check rules and regulations of the Destination
It would help if you double-checked the rules of the Destination you are going to with your dog for snowshoeing. It is not only to ensure the weather conditions, but it will also help you know if you need any additional gears for yourself or your dog. Also, it will make sure whether the place is dog friendly or not.
# Make sure you Check your Dog’s fitness and health level
Snowshoeing is undoubtedly a fun activity, but it may become difficult if your dog is not used to such cold weather. You should always check with your vet and ensure your dog can stay on snowy trails for the duration of your snowshoeing.
# Plan the length of the trip appropriately
If you often take your dog for long walks and other adventure activities, then you can plan a longer snowshoeing excursion. If you are both newbies, there is no shame in planning a smaller path or shorter hike until you both become accustomed to it.
# Keep Your Buddy Hydrated
Walking snow-covered trails is not an easy task. It requires hard work. Your dog may show the same symptoms of dehydration as they do in summers, so don’t forget to pack lots of water and offer it to your dog on regular breaks.
# Protect Your dog’s paws from snow and ice
Do dogs need snow boots? Yes, just like you cannot go barefoot on snow, how do you expect your dog to walk on snow barefoot? Prolonged exposure to snow can cause frostbite on dogs’ paws. Consider buying snow boots for them to provide shields for their paws. Get waterproof winter dog boots for further protection.
# Deep Snow or trails
Can dogs walk in deep snow? The answer is yes. Dogs with longer legs can do an excellent job in deep snow. But when it is about wet snow, you need to be more careful as dogs with soft coats can experience snowballs.
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How to Put On Dog Boots and Save Your Dog’s Paws?
Many dog owners ask me: how do you put snowshoes on a dog? Dogs are temperamental animals, so it’s never easy to put anything on them, be it a leash or even a warm winter jacket.
You need to follow the below steps to ensure you correctly put snowshoes on your dog’s paws.
# Measure Dog’s Paws Before you buy
Finding the right size of snowshoes for your dog is the hardest part of the activity. Before you buy, measure your dog’s paws. Start by measuring the circumference by using simple fabric measurement tape. Measure the widest part of the paw. Also, depending on the snow level of the trail you plan, think about shoe length and measure the same way.
# Buy The Right Type Of Shoes
Getting the correct type of shoes is much easier than finding the right size boots. With so many options available in the market, you must consider a snowshoe dog breed and then look for the correct type of shoes that your dog finds comfortable and convenient while snowshoeing.
# Put Boots On The Front legs Of A Dog
First, you need to put shoes on the dog’s front legs and let your dog walk in the trail for some time to get friendly. Then, if it is required, put boots on the rear legs also.
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What To Pack for Your Dog At The Time Of Snowshoeing?
You need to carry the below extra items when you snowshoe with your dog.
# Extra Layers
Similar to us, dogs also need extra layers of protective clothing in winters. If your dog has shorter hair or has problems in winter, don’t forget to carry a heavier jacket. Go for something waterproof and made up of synthetic materials. If your dog’s breed is not meant for snow, it is necessary to carry a jacket to protect them from extreme winter conditions.
# Emergency First Aid Supplies
An emergency can happen anywhere, despite all the care that you take in the world. Always carry a dog foot care kit, extra dog snowshoes, and a layer of clothes to ensure you tackle any accident or weather conditions smoothly.
# Extra Food For Your Dog
While you get extra food for yourself, also pack extra food for your dog. Avoid getting wet food items for your dog, or that would be hard to chew. Dry food is recommended. When you take a break on the trail, give your dog a treat.
# Light for the collar
If it becomes dark when you head back, a light in the collar will help the dog to see better in front of them.
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Tips For Snowshoeing With A Small Dog
How do you snowshoe with a small dog? Here are a few tips that you must follow to help your dog enjoy and have an amazing experience in the snow.
# Ensure Your Small Dog is fit and healthy
It is essential for small dogs, and you need to ensure your dog is fit and healthy to bound the snow as it requires a lot of hard work. You need to check with the vet whether your small dog is ready for snowshoeing or not in terms of their fitness level. And they must be used to walking regularly. Start your snowshoeing with a small dog for shorter trails initially to ensure your dog is ready or not, and then work for longer trails.
# Start with Firm Surface
To make your small dog comfortable, you must start walking with your dog on a firm surface and then further. If the initial trail has a hard surface, your small dog will not be able to sink very far.
# Make Your Dog create their track to Walk In
If you found the track soft and powdery, allow your small dog to make their way. When you make impressions with your shoes on the snow, let your dog follow that. This will create a lightly packed track for your dog to walk in.
# Save Their Feet
To protect your small dog’s feet, it is never a bad idea to get a balm and keep checking their feet on the track. Musher’s Secret is among the best paw balms to avoid sticking snow to your dog’s paws. Usually, small dogs have tiny feet, and it becomes challenging to find snowshoes for them, so it is recommended to apply a paw balm before you start the adventure.
# Pick Them Up
You need to pick your small dog when they need it. However, we must be proud that your small dog is capable enough to snowshoe, and at the same time, we should not be ashamed of picking them up when required and from time to time. Picking your small dog will give them a warm moment, and that motivates them to move far with you.
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I hope the above article has helped you understand everything that you need to know in order to enjoy a great snowshoeing adventure with your favorite pet. Do leave me your comments and suggestions, and of course, pictures of you with your pups while snowshoeing!
Here’s a great video on how to get your dog ready for snowshoeing: