From the right boots to switching routes, here’s how to enjoy dog walks this winter

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Winter can be a beautiful time to be a dog owner.

While the warmer months promise light evenings and long walks interrupted only by a quick stop for a refreshing drink, winter offers altogether different, but equally enjoyable conditions.

Wax jackets and cosy hats are thrown on for brisk evening walks, punctuated by the smell of burning wood fires and the squelch of Wellington boots.

However, the colder months also mean making sure you and your dog are well prepared for anything the unpredictable British winter may throw at you.

Pedigree® has shared a few simple tips to ensure you and your dog have a safe and enjoyable winter…

Be prepared

You don’t have to be heading out on a 15-mile hike through the Lake District to make preparations for your walk.

Check the weather forecast before setting off and ensure you have warm, waterproof and highly visible clothing. You can always take layers off if you get too warm, so err on the side of caution.

Perhaps the most important clothing to get right is your footwear. Ensure it’s comfy, waterproof and has enough grip to help you stay on your feet if your dog pulls on the lead a little more enthusiastically than usual.

Similarly, your dog should also be prepared for the cold evenings or mornings.

Let their winter coat grow to ensure they have enough insulation and, if you have a short-haired breed, buy them a sensible winter coat that is not only warm but has a reflective coating so they can be seen in the dark.

Which brings us nicely onto our next piece of advice…

Change your walking route

You may have your favourite summer walking route through woods or down narrow country lanes, but is it the most practical or safest trail in the winter gloom?

While it may not be as rugged or romantic, taking your dog for a walk along well-lit pavements or paths can help alleviate some of the worries of winter walking, such as unsteady ground or hazards hidden in the dark.

If your route simply has to be through such areas, ensure you take a torch to illuminate any areas where it’s too dark to see clearly and, as always, ensure your dog remains on a lead at all times to stop them disappearing into the dark.

To ensure your dog is still getting enough exercise during these changes to their regular routine, use the Pedigree® Tracks app.

Simply download it to your phone, fill out some straightforward details and let it monitor the amount of exercise your pet is getting.

Remember post-walk care

After a cold evening walk, it’s often tempting to throw off your boots and sit in front of the fire with a warming cup of tea as soon as possible – but you also need to allow time for some simple dog care.

As most people can testify, coming in from the cold outdoors to a hot home can be lead to chapped skin – and it’s no different for your dog and their paws. Try to keep your home humid and gently wash their paws straightaway as cold road surfaces, ice and salted pavements can irritate your dog’s pads.

And there we have it. Follow these simple tips and your long winter walks have every chance of being bracing, enjoyable and, most importantly, safe.