Tips For Walking Your French Bulldog In The Colder Winter Months
Tips For Walking Your French Bulldog In The Colder Winter Months
In this article we will cover:
- How do I know when it’s too cold to go out?
- How cold is too cold to take my dog out?
- Do dogs need to wear protective paw/boot gear?
- Does a dog need to wear a coat?
- Breed does matter
- Paw protection
- Improve traction on slippery ground
- Resist pulling your dog
- My Own Experiences
Here are some common questions asked before venturing out in the cold:
How do I know when it’s too cold to go out?
Smaller dogs do need a winter coat/jacket especially if their coat is sparse and thin, like humans, dogs do feel the cold. If it is really cold some dogs may have accidents in the house because the dog is too cold to concentrate on eliminating outdoors (or this could be due to a mixture of excitement and coldness). If you do find that your dog is having accidents we suggest to lay down a pee-pad.
Pee-pads are very convenient to catch little mistakes and are disposable. Click here for the doggy pee-pads that we recommend!
How cold is too cold to take my dog out?
This can vary and highly dependent on the dog itself.
Some dogs have very thick coats like Mountain Dogs and love rolling around in the snow and spending an hour outside, however, some may hate it. Pay close attention to your dog. If your dog is unconditioned to the cold don’t spend more than an hour outside but we suggest starting off with a brisk 15-30-minute walk on a safely plowed pathway. Some dogs tend to eliminate outdoors more quickly if they have a shoveled clear walk area. As mentioned before, pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and body movement. Dogs are smart creatures and will show you by shivering or holding up a leg that they would rather be somewhere else when they are too cold, however, a dog who is prancing around in the snow and creating their own snowplow is probably happier outdoors!
Do dogs need to wear protective paw/boot gear?
Dogs can be sensitive but paws to the snow are usually OK and dogs can regulate their temperature accordingly. While dogs can be trained to wear boots, most boot novices will not enjoy the boots and will be distracted holding up the booted feet and not relaxed enough to eliminate outdoors. For those owners who like to keep their dog's paws clean after a walk then, by all means, fit those little booties on. Dog boots can come in different designs, fabric and color, however, the most important thing to consider when buying dog boots is their comfort. We prefer slip-on-dog boots as their lighter in weight, do not constrict the dog's legs or feet and relatively easy to put on. Some dogs may need Velcro if they take them off themselves!
For French Bulldog Boosts we recommended:
Does a dog need to wear a coat?
Again, this depends on the type of dog you have, for sparse and fine hair, skin and coated dogs such as Whippets or Chinese Crested (Yes…people have these wonderful creatures!) these dogs wear clothing well. Small dogs 20-30 lbs or less, may prefer a coat as well. If a normally long coated dog has a recent haircut, a coat may be useful in cold weather. Whereas breeds that were conditioned to hunt and work outdoors such as a Labrador Retriever may not need a coat as they have a significant layer of fat under their skin which will keep them warm. Dogs that are similar to an Alaskan Malamute who tend to have a heavy thicker coat may not be well suited to a coat as overheating could arise.
It’s important to become familiar with your dog’s ability to handle the cold and watch out for signs if and when they indicate they are cold. Toby always curls up into a tight little croissant-like shape when he is very cold, as soon as I see him morph into my favorite pastry I grab his winter coat.
For French Bulldogs We Recommend:
Remember, just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you need to skip your dog’s walking routine! A friend of my Aunty has a dog that lives in New York and even though winter temperatures aren’t as low as Alaska she does fight the cold pretty bravely and she’s made wintertime walking bearable, here are some of her handy tips!
Breed does matter
Aforementioned above, some dogs with thicker coats and an extra layer of fat under their skin can stay out a lot longer than other dogs and may refuse to go back indoors! However, if you own a small dog with a thinner coat and not a lot of fur such as a Chihuahua be very mindful of how cold they are! Always look for tell-tale signs, as humans shiver in the cold so do dogs. A dog coat is pretty nifty to have especially if you’re looking to extend your walks beyond 15 minutes, just make sure to invest in a coat that does not restrict movement otherwise your dog will be uncomfortable.
Snow and ice can cause chapped paws and may wreak havoc on your dog’s feet, a simple and cost-effective fix is to slap on some Vaseline or petroleum jelly on their paws before you head outside or alternatively trying investing in a pair of dog booties!
Improve traction on slippery ground
Make sure to trim your dog’s nails otherwise you may increase the chances of them slipping and sliding around especially if the ground is slicked with ice. Help Fido stand and walk upright by trimming their nails often, this may also mitigate any risks with accidental falls on the slippery ground! Especially for older dogs.
Resist pulling your dog
While you never want your dog to pull you on the walk, it can be especially dangerous when there’s ice involved. If you’re still mastering the walk, use a good sturdy harness that can help guide them along the walk. See the Best French Bulldog Harnesses!
Use a backpack
I know how harsh forceful winter winds can be and the last thing you want to do is take Fido out for 2 seconds then change your mind. Unless if there is a blizzard then you’re exempt! To challenge the wind back and to ensure you’re getting the walk-in try adding some weight in a small backpack (no joke!) Put a backpack or a weighted harness on your dog and you may discover that it may hold them sturdy through a wind blast. If that doesn’t sound appealing maybe wait until the strong winds have died off.
My Own Experiences
Melbourne can be pretty unpredictable with the weather, however, with Winter now done and dusted I’m looking forward to bathing my body in the warm delicious sun! Sad to say my friends on the other side of are bunkering down for a cold harsh winter (shout out to Alaska, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Maine!) Brrrr! I surely don’t do too well in Winter and as they say, Winter is for bulking… well, it certainly is for me.
Having said that now that I am a Mummy to a French Bulldog I make it a mandatory task to peel myself off the couch, rug up and face the cold with my furry little friend. Trust me, I know that Winter weather can make it difficult to commit yourself to walking your dog especially if you live in an area where there are ice, snow and icy winds blasting in your face. But you need to remind yourself that regardless of the weather keeping your dog active throughout the year is important. Unlike humans where we’re more than happy to lard up on the couch and be mindlessly entertained by Netflix and a bit of chill, a lack of wintertime exercise can have a negative impact on your dog's behavior.
I know that when Toby’s exercise regime is not met he finds other ways to release energy, including hyperactive behavior including chewing everything in sight, playing ‘zoomies’ up and down the corridor and sometimes barking at inanimate objects. Such behavior may persist once Winter dies and because of the lack of outdoor activity and socializing your dog would start barking at other dogs or even people on the street. Not only does it affect their behavior, but like us humans, dogs can add weight in winter and some relatively quick than others. We call this the ‘pudgy pooch’ syndrome and just be careful of this because it does take some time to shift the extra weight off your dog which may expose them to other health risks.