K9 Trail Time Top Ten Winter Dog Running Tips

Since the clocks went back and the nights are drawing in, we have been waiting for the cooler temperatures to come so we can start using all our cold weather running kit. Finally this week we have seen the beginning of winter, which got me thinking again about what differences there are in our kit and routines throughout the colder months. This is a list (not exhaustive) of 10 things we do/use to make running just as much fun at this time of year.

1. Warm up – It is even more important when the temperatures are low outside to make sure you and your dog warm up before a run. Even a brisk walk up and down for 5 minutes before a run can be enough to get the muscles moving and therefore help prevent injury.

Having a walk before a run can help keep your dogs muscles warm - Photo courtesy of Simon Warwick

Having a walk before a run can help keep your dogs muscles warm – Photo courtesy of Simon Warwick

2. Invest in a good head torch for yourself and light for your dog – Light up the trails! There is nothing more off putting when you’re running than to not be able to see where you are going and unless you are lucky enough to always be able to run in daylight hours, then you will be training in the dark. We don’t sell the human head torches but we do sell the amazing Scarab Safety Beacon which will help you see your dog off lead up to 4 kms away. For more information see our website:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/other-activities/active-dog-accessories/scarab-safety-beacon.html

3. Get some trail trainers with good grip – There will be no shortage of mud over the next few months and so if you haven’t already, get yourself a decent pair of trainers with soles designed for deep mud, you won’t regret it.

A decent pair of grippy trainers is money well spent

A decent pair of grippy trainers is money well spent

4. Use a reflective harness – Many of the harnesses we sell have reflective piping or stitching to make your dog more visible in low light conditions. We particularly recommend using these if you are going to be doing any running near roads or on paths which are frequented by other dog walkers, to ensure your dog is safe and seen.

5. Fluorescent clothing – In much the same way as using a reflective harness for your dog to be seen, we change our running kit to include brighter jackets, gloves and even reflective bands, so that when out and about, you are as visible to others as you can be.

6. Paw protection – We’re not quite there yet but when the weather is icy or snowy, there is often salt put down on roads or paths to provide grip and this can be really dangerous for dogs if they get home and lick it off. You can wash their paws when you get in from a run or pop some boots on to provide extra protection if you are concerned. The PAWZ boots we sell are perfect for this:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/pawz-dog-boots.html

We also recommend keeping a close eye on your dogs pads as the seasons change to look for any signs of damage.

PAWZ boots are very useful for paw protection in winter - Photo courtesy of Paulina Soltysiak

PAWZ boots are very useful for paw protection in winter – Photo courtesy of Paulina Soltysiak

7. Layer up – Although the temperatures have dropped, you can still get quite warm when you get moving and so it is worth dressing for your run in layers you can peel off if you do get too hot in what you’re wearing. There’s nothing worse than having misjudged the amount of clothing you need and either sweltering or freezing on your run.

8. Jackets or fleeces for the dogs – I have been criticised for ‘dressing up’ my dogs as I have chosen to get my pack matching fleece pyjamas, which make them stand out at events but there is a serious reason for my choice in dogwear and that is to help prevent injuries in the dogs. The use of a coat or fleece before and after runs helps to keep the dogs muscles warm. As I would normally have a jacket on before and after a run, I also make sure my dogs have a way to dry off and keep warm after running. If you don’t feel you need this for your dog, you can always just towel dry them to make sure they are not just left damp when it is cold.

Dog fleeces might look like a gimmick but they serve the useful purpose of keeping the dogs muscles warm when it's cold outside

Dog fleeces might look like a gimmick but they serve the useful purpose of keeping the dogs muscles warm when it’s cold outside

9. Change of clothing – If you’re not running from home and have a car journey to take before you can get back somewhere warm, then it is useful to have a change of clothing available to help prevent you having an uncomfortable journey. Even if it is just a fresh pair of socks and trainers, that can make a world of difference if you’ve got wet and muddy feet.

10. Take some fuel – Not literally fuel for your vehicle but fuel for your body. It has been proved that the body burns more calories when it’s cold and that applies to your dog too, so what a perfect excuse to take a flask of something hot and some cake along for after! Your dog will also appreciate some small treats post-run and we stock the Puredog Dried Sprats which are perfect for this!

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/pure-dog-whole-sprats.html

Winter - another excuse for treats!

Winter – another excuse for treats!

Whatever activity you’re taking part in this winter, remember to always put your dog first and make sure you both have as much fun as you do in the warmer months – Happy Trails!

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