Snow and Your Pup

by Trevor Page

Some dogs love the snow, while others hate it. Jax and Rusko tolerate it to a degree, but the second it gets "too deep", they want nothing to do with it! And, who knows what the magic level is... sometimes it varies based on the day! There are some days where they won't even consider going outside while it's snowing and there's just a dusting on the sidewalks, while other days they'll be willing to run around in a few inches of snow!

After a lot of trial and error and frustration, I think I've finally figured out what to do if you have a pup who hates the snow but still needs to go out to relieve himself in it. There are a few things I try to make the snowy weather a bit more managable for my dogs. They more consistently go outdoors no matter what the winter weather has in store if I do the following things:

  1. Use booties. Booties are great for keeping your pup's paws warm on the cold snow or pavement and help prevent the pads from cracking and becoming "chapped" like our lips get. The tricky part is that many dogs just try to shake the booties off and don't want to walk in them. I have the dogs practice wearing them in the house for short amounts of time, and they handle it better when we go out.
  2. Shovel. I know it sounds crazy, but shoveling the snow will help your pup get more comfortable with it. I shovel an area of about 4-6 feet and they'll get to walk on the normal ground and then explore the mounds of snow on their own terms. Amazingly enough, they'll often decide to try walking in it to do their business once they've had the chance to smell it.
  3. Have a snowball fight. You think I've lost it, don't you? I don't mean whipping snowballs at your dogs, but I do mean making snowballs for them! Dogs will often try to catch small snowballs, thinking they're a treat, and find that they actually like it! Just avoid the yellow stuff.
  4. Bundle up. Sometimes it's not the snow itself that bothers your dog. I know I watch Rusko go out and just stand there and shiver. As soon as I put a coat on him, though, he's much more adventurous and will assume his normal behavior of sniffing for that perfect spot to leave his mark. Especially if it's actively snowing when I take them out, the coat keeps him drier and warmer, so he's a happier guy!

Try these things and maybe it'll help your dog tolerate going out in the snow or cold weather this winter. I know it helped mine, and has helped us not have accidents in the house when we can't avoid the winter weather!