How to avoid injuries and enjoy the winter with your dog?

Dog in the snow
Dr. Maja Kruuse DVM
Dr. Maja Kruuse DVM
The Norwegian winter can be long and cold. Dogs are an important part of many outdoors winter activities such as skijoring, dog sledding, hunting and trips to enjoy nature.

However, the cold weather is also a challenge when we want to avoid injuries. Ice, snow and below zero temperatures puts your dog in the risk of:

Hypothermia – when the body temperature gets dangerously low.
Web cracks and cuts – wounds and lesions between the toes of the paw caused by ice and running on very cold surfaces.
Frostbite – the dog’s ears, teats, belly and scrotum don’t have as much protection from fur and can be susceptible to frostbite.
Muscle and joint injury – slipping on ice can cause muscle tears and lameness.

It is never possible to safeguard yourself and your dog 100%, but a little planning goes a long way when it comes to preventing these common winter problems. My recommendations to you are these:
Always check the weather report before going out. Then you have an idea of the conditions and what you should bring with you to keep you and your dog comfortable and safe. Remember to factor in the wind chill factor when you assess how cold it is going to be.Bring a first aid kit in a handy bag that fits in your backpack. You never know when your going to need it. For tips on making your own canine first aid kit – read the article How to pack a first aid kit for you and your dog.

Use dog booties when it is icy or very cold outside. They exist in all shapes or forms but very simple fleece or cordura with a velcro strap closure works just fine.
Make sure your dog has warmed up his muscles before letting him run free. Also make sure that the area is suitable for a speedy run. If it is to slippery, the risk in muscle and joint injury is high.
Cover up the exposed areas on your dogs body to prevent frostbite and hyperthermia. I recommend in a good quality dog coat with good coverage and a sporty fit that allows your dog to move freely.
As a general rule remember to pack extra warm clothes for both you and your dog. Remember to bring water for the both of you, as well as some tasty snacks for extra energy. But the most important thing for you and your dog is to have fun and enjoy the snow together.

Stay safer, stronger, smarter – as a part of the Canion community you have access to all our articles about dog health, training and equipment. Provided to you by our team veterinarian and professional dog trainers.

Have a pawsome day!

Enjoy the winter!
Enjoy the winter!