Kathy’s Tips for Hiking with Dogs in the Winter

Hi everyone!

My name is Kathy Gould and I am the Events Coordinator for the Chelmsford Dog Association.

I am also a dog excursionist.

What is this you ask?

I bring 4-6 dogs for hikes on local trails. We choose different trails and locations in the area.

In this blog series, I will share hiking safety tips and information on the awesome trails that we hike. Let’s go!

6 Tips to Keep Safety First

  1. Check the weather. Remember, when hiking for any distance, always check the weather guidelines for your dog. Size matters when it comes to safe hiking.(add chart)
  2. Keep your dogs warm. Coats are a must in the winter, so bundle up your dog in a sweater or coat.
  3. Protect your dog’s paws. Booties are great if your dog will wear them. (Mine won’t). Instead, I use Musher’s Secret, a wax you can apply to your dog’s paws to put a protective coating on the paw pads before you set off for on a hike. Musher’s Secret also helps with dry cracked paws anytime. I highly recommend it.
  4. Remember a first aid kit. I carry a backpack with a first aid kit that includes hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, rolled gauze, Neosporin, Benadryl, and scissors. You can get all of these things at your local pharmacy.
  5. Bring extra supplies for your dog. I always carry extra leashes, water, bowls, and a cloth sling in case I have to carry a dog. Like the Boy Scout motto, be prepared.
  6. Know your trail. Before I set off on a hike, I take a picture of the trail map that is usually posted at the beginning of any trail. You may also be able to download maps ahead of time.

Musher's Secret

At the end of this article, I have attached a chart noting temperature safety that covers all size dogs.
We also have an entry in our FAQ regarding cold temperatures and recognizing hypothermia in dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

Trail of the Week: Tewksbury State Hospital Trail

The Tewksbury State Hospital trail (493 Livingston St, Tewksbury, MA 01876) is a great place to hike with your dog. This is a 2.3 mile loop trail. There are four entrances, but during the winter, you can only access it from Livingston Street. Be sure to plan accordingly. Here, you can hike of a mix of trails or on an access road.  There are also large fields for playing ball or Frisbee with your dog. Well-behaved dogs that listen to commands can be off leash here. However, you are sounded by roads, so use your best judgment. I’ve met many friendly people and dogs here. Check it out! I hope you enjoy it as much as my hiking dogs and I do.

We are always up for trying new places that are safe for dogs. Comment below if you have any recommendations on new trails we should try, or any feedback on this blog article. Happy trails and wagging tails!

 

 

 

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