Tips for Winter Hiking with your Dog

Tips for Winter Hiking with your Dog

With more snow storms and freezing temperatures on the way, it’s essential to keep your adventure dog safe during winter hikes.

Paw Protection

To protect your dog’s paws and reduce the chance of frostbite, I would recommend using a paw protector wax or boots.

I use Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection. The wax, which is applied to the paws and in-between the pads, acts as a protective barrier and reduces ice build-up. Even with the wax, it’s important to regularly check your dog’s paws and remove any clumps of ice and snow.

Buying a Coat

The age, weight, type of fur and size of your dog will affect how well they tolerate cold weather. Large dogs with double-layer coats, like a Husky or Golden Retriever, will find a cold day significantly easier than a small dog with a thin coat. Based on what type of dog you have, you may need to ‘top-up’ their protection against cold and wet weather. I’m a big fan of Ruffwear rain and snow jackets for mountain hikes and Danish Design waterproofs for lower level walks.

When buying a coat for your dog, make sure you check the type of material; the outer layer needs to repel moisture and the inner layer should be synthetic to keep your dog warm.

Tips for Winter Hiking with your dog

Keeping your Dog Hydrated

Always ensure you have enough water for your dog, especially when puddles and rivers are frozen. As a general rule, always offer your dog a drink when you have one.

To check if your dog is hydrated, lightly press your finger on your dog's gum. When you remove your finger, the colour should instantly return to the gum. If it takes a few seconds, this is a sign of mild dehydration. Symptoms of severe dehydration in dogs can be sunken eyes, weakness, tiredness and collapsing often.


Snow drifts, frozen lakes and icy scrambles are all potential hazards and should be avoided. Keep your dog close and under control.

Post Hike

At the end of a walk, always wash your dog’s paws in lukewarm water to remove ice, snow and any traces of salt and antifreeze, which can be toxic.

Start Slow

If your dog hasn’t seen snow before, a day hike might be too much! Introduce your dog to the snow and slowly build up the distance. It's just about knowing your dog and understanding what they are comfortable with.

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