Top tips to help you with dog walks on dark nights
The Great British summer is being typically unreliable but hopefully you’ve been able to make the most of it by enjoying some time with your pets.
The early sunrise and light nights certainly give you a better chance of getting out and about but all that has stopped now the clocks have gone back.
But the dark nights have been well on their way for a while, so here’s a few pointers to help you and your dog deal with autumn and winter.
Most dogs coats are more than adequate to keep them warm during winter but you should avoid having their fur cut short so that they don’t get cold.
It is, however, worth keeping the hairs around their paws nice and neat, purely for comfort reasons.
This will help avoid chunks of ice or dirt building up around the paws, which can make walking uncomfortable for your pet.
Be safe, be seen
It’s an old adage but it’s one that you really can’t go wrong with – and it goes for both you and your pet.
You need to make sure you and your pet can be seen when the sun goes down. Invest in some high-visibility dog clothes so that motorists, cyclists and other people who are out and about can see your dog.
This is important even if you keep your dog on a lead because he or she will be a yard ahead of you and not in the natural line of sight for someone heading towards you.
Make sure you carry a torch so you can keep an eye on your dog. It also might be worth getting a head torch so that your hands are free for cleaning up after him or her.
Tread a familiar path
You and your dog might enjoy exploring together but the depths of winter is not a great time to head too far off the beaten track.
Stick to areas you know well and opt for proper paths with good lighting. If you’re walking next to a road, make sure you walk against the flow of traffic and keep yourself between your dog and the road.
Unfortunately, most winter dog walks will be wet. Have an old towel to hand for when you get back to help dry your dog’s coat.
Also check for stones, ice and hardened mud, particularly in your dog’s paws. Use warm water – not too hot – and a cloth or cotton wool to wipe away anything that might cause irritation.
If your dog’s paw pads show any sign of irritation, you should invest in a soothing balm.