We've been very busy behind the scenes so have had a little hiatus on our blog - but we wanted to duck back to give you some tips for braving this frosty dog walking weather!
It seems our extended Summer has come to a close in Melbourne, with the strong onset of freezing winds and rain this week. While most dogs don't mind (hello entire Retriever population), we humans tend to find soggy, muddy, and chilly conditions a little off-putting to say the least. Hands up who's peering out of the office window right now thinking "hmm, I'd rather not, thanks!"
Thing is, an icy blast needn't (and shouldn't) put a stop to your hound's outdoor expeditions. Pet parents often see an increase in undesirable dog behaviour like barking and destructiveness in the Winter months because they abandon the dedicated dog walking routines they had throughout the rest of the year.
While we don't recommend being outside in dangerous weather (like hail, thunderstorms, or extreme heat), generally your pup needs a run and play every single day... yes, even when it's raining cats and dogs!
Making sure your dog continues to have their daily exercise sessions throughout Winter leads to a happier, healthier, and better behaved canine in the long-run.
As seasoned all-climate explorers, there are a few secrets we have in making the experience of walking in Winter much more tolerable... even enjoyable! So to help you survive the bitter cold and drizzle, here are our Top 3 Tips for dog walking in Melbourne's winter!
TOP 3 WINTER DOG WALKING TIPS
1. SUIT UP
Step 1: Get yourself some great dog walking gear! Depending on the conditions we use gore-tex (waterproof) trail shoes, or proper hiking boots. Shoes are the one part of your outfit you can't skimp on - we tried all the cheaper brands, and inevitably found they would wear out within a couple of months. For the rest of your kit we recommend layering with light thermal tops, windbreaker jackets, and vented raincoats. Don't forget a pair of waterproof pants ("plastic pants" as my Mum loves to call them) and a beanie or headband. Great adventure clothes don't have to be expensive, especially if you buy them at an outlet store.
2. GEAR FOR YOUR DOG
As the saying goes, "nothing in the world is friendlier than a wet dog", but your interior decor may not agree! We recommend leaving a few dog towels at your front door, and in the boot of your car, to dry off after a slushy park or beach session. The best place to source these is at local op shops - they are only a couple of dollars each, and you're supporting a good cause. A raincoat may also be a sound investment for your dog (pending their willingness to wear it), but make sure to consider the density of your dog's coat, and their usual activity level at the park, before purchasing anything. If your dog is very athletic, and/or thick-coated, a heavy insulated parka may make them overheat. Likewise, if your dog is elderly, and/or has a single short coat (like a Greyhound), you may need a warm fluffy jacket to keep them comfortable.
Hot tip: a natural leave-in conditioner will transform "wet dog smell" into "freshly washed dog smell"!
3. PROTECT YOUR DOG-MOBILE
Anyone who has a water-dog knows the pain of witnessing their pooch discover a big dirty puddle before having to transport them back home in the car. Though we now ferry dogs about in customised vans, we used SUV's for several years, which we had kitted out to minimise mess. Rubber mats for the foot-wells and boot space were an absolute must, as was a sturdy back-seat hammock. After testing a number of seat protectors, we found this was again an area where we needed to invest in quality, as many of the inexpensive products would quickly fall apart. The hammock we used was around $150 and it did a fantastic job of protecting our cars as they taxied many four-legged passengers!
With these tips, getting out for walks in Winter will be a (cold) breeze! But if you want to stay warm and dry, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll take care of Winter dog walking for you.
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