EXTREME WEATHER Dog Walking
So you have a dog. A hyper dog. A very, very hyperactive,
crawls-on-the-ceiling-if-he-hasn't-been-exercised dog. I feel your pain.
I'm right there with you.
At any rate, I have discovered, as you may have, that a day without dog-walking will be a day spent in H-E-Double hockey sticks for me. My dog will orbit around me with a squeaky toy until my only option is to lock myself in my room or leave the house and go sit at Border's, drinking chamomile tea in an effort to calm my nerves.
So, to make a long blah-dee-blah session short, ya need to walk the dog. And you may live in an area where the weather is rather extreme. This can lead to all around suckiness, unless you are prepared for the weather. I live near Chicago. There is a 150* temperature range here. Last winter, it reached -50*F. This summer, it's hit 100*F. Sometimes it rains and floods, and sometimes it droughts, and sometimes there's snow to the top of my thighs.
And yet, the doggie marches on, oblivious to everything except his need to run around.
So I'm here to help you keep yourself and your doggie safe in extreme weather conditions.
I bid you good luck.
Stuff For Really Hot Days
It's Really Hot (and possibly dry or humid, but not raining)
If it's really hot and dry, it would be good to walk your dog in the
early morning or late evening. Clearly, walking at noon would be a Bad
Idea, and one you should not attempt.
For your dog:
- Give him a summer haircut. Trust me, that long black fur does not "insulate" your dog from the heat. You can do a good dog-grooming number yourself with a pair of Oster Clippers and a basic dog grooming book. I taught myself and use a #3 blade on my English Shepherd's fur. Leave the tail fluffy. My edjumucated research program of watching how much my dog runs leads me to the conclusion that my dog runs longer and more spryly when he has a haircut, therefore he must feel better.
- Walk near water and make sure your dog gets wet. This may involve gently shoving him in.
- Make sure your dog can get his mouth wet. Dogs don't sweat very much, and they disspell heat by panting. They don't need to drink gallons of water, because they don't sweat it out, but they do need their mouths to be wet. Carry a water bottle that squirts if your dog knows how to drink from that. Bring along a small folding fabric water bowl for dogs who prefer to drink that way.
- Women, put your hair up.
- Some people prefer to wear hats to keep the sun from their faces, but I don't like to because it makes me warmer.
- Wear hiking sandals with a toe cover and a thick sole. I wear flip flops and have walked hundreds of miles in them, but that's just me.
- Wear those light wicking technical fabric shorts made for running.
- For shirts, you'll want to wear the loosest, lightest shirt possible, and in light colors. You can choose cotton or technical fabric as your preferences demand. I hate technical fabric, so I wear cotton. If at all possible, wear a large, loose singlet / tank top style. Women, wear a technical fabric sports bra or a bikini top underneath. If you don't need much support, a triangle bikini top is a good option because it has no underwire and has very little material.
It's Really Hot and It's Raining
For your dog:
- The same applies as above in the Hot and Dry section.
- Don't let your dog jump into a very high river to cool off, though. The current might take him away. Keep him on a leash and harness if he goes in water you're not so sure about.
- Wear all technical and wicking clothes, as mentioned above. This clothing won't get uncomfortable and chafe you if it gets wet.
- You may choose to wear a hat to keep the rain out of your face.
- I prefer to
carry an umbrella, but then again, I hate getting water in my face and I
hate wearing hats. Use a strong umbrella, not a tiny folding one that
will implode if it gets windy out.
- Wear Crocs or footwear that won't blister your feet if it gets wet.
- It's okay to get wet if it's hot out. It actually may be more comfortable.
- For the sake of the prurient interest, it may be preferable not to wear white tops in the pouring rain.
It's Cold and Rainy (or Sleety): This one really bites!
For Your Dog:
- Depending on your dog, you may want a waterproof coat to keep his back dry.
- Before rainy season begins, trim just the feathers of a long-haired dog's coat, to prevent mud and limestone build-up. You can trim feathers with a pair of scissors or with clippers.
- Some dogs do not like to get their paws wet. Pawz rubber paw covers are easier for dogs to tolerate than regular boots and are waterproof when used on flat surfaces. They stay firmly on the dog's foot and are reusable and disposable.
- Get warm, waterproof boots. I suggest Bogs. They are neoprene, long-lasting, and completely waterproof. They stretch over the calf and even over jeans. The neoprene is warm, even down to -30F.
- Get a waterproof raincoat with a hood. Get it one or two sizes larger, so you can wear a fleece or two underneath.
- Wear rain pants if the rain is really driving sideways.
- Get a polar fleece hat or ear band for underneath the hood.
- Wear waterproof gloves if your hands get cold.
- Dress in layers.
Paw Tougheners and Protectants
Cold, Snowy, Icy Walks
For Your Dog:
- Do a light trim of your dog's feathers, but leave the coat length at its longest.
- Trim hair between paw pads to avoid formation of ice blocks and bleeding paw pads.
- Apply paw pad toughener to protect paws from ice, salt, and snow.
- Have a warm coat if the dog needs it. If he is shivering, he needs it.
- Check frequently for frostbite, especially on ears and nose.
- Check for ice build-up around nose and mouth. The dog may rub his nose into the snow. This is your cue to thaw the ice in his nostrils by loosely covering his nose with your hands.
- If the dog is picking up his paws frequently, this is a sign to go inside or have the dog wear boots.
- Sometimes, Pawz rubber boots may be enough to protect some dogs from the cold. They also prevent ice block formation.
- Other dogs may do better with actual dog boots, but many dogs will not tolerate these.
- Bogs boots, as mentioned above, are warm and waterproof.
- Yak Trax, slipped onto footwear, will prevent slipping on packed snow and ice.
- A down coat with separate shell and liner will keep you warm and dry.
- Snowboarding pants can keep your legs warm and keep you from looking like a dork. No, now you will resemble a boardless snowboarder!
- Wear a fleece or wool hat, gloves, and a scarf to cover your face.
- In extreme cold, cover your face with a neoprene mask.
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