I think we’re all feeling a little blue by the amount of rain we’ve seen so far this winter. I keep hoping for a good long frost and potentially snow to dry up all the mud, but there’s been no such luck. In fact this week its been oddly mild and although we’ve had a few dry days the rain has never been far away.
These are my top 6 tips for surviving the cold, muddy winter with your dog.
1. Get the correct gear
I’m talking about you first and foremost. Warm clothes, waterproof boots/wellies, waterproof coat, lots of layers. There’s nothing worse than going out and being cold and wet. It makes you want to go home, or not go out at all. Fashion doesn’t matter right now, it’s hard to look dignified when you’re soaking wet in a field.
Check out my post on winter gear for humans for some tried and tested brands: http://dogoddity.com/2015/11/18/essential-winter-gear-for-dog-owners/
And lots of them. Old towels. Thick towels. Microfibre towels. Also train your dog to be okay with having its paws wiped and body dried. Teach them to stand still, it will make your life a little bit easier.
3. Aim for dry places
There’s nothing wrong with avoiding the waterlogged fields. Canal towpaths and tracks such as cycle ways tend to stay pretty dry, depending on how much management they get. Alternatively, there’s nothing wrong with just taking them on a walk around the pavements, there’s plenty of sniffs and your dog is still being exercised. Heck, maybe now is your time to take up jogging with your dog! I personally find it a much quicker and cleaner way of exercising both me and the dog.
4. Have a dog bucket or a warm water hosepipe
I’ve found the easiest way to clean mud caked legs is to dip them in a bucket of warm water. Obviously your dog may not be too impressed with this so try to train them to like it. Or have a hose pipe connected to a warm tap outside so you can rinse them off.
5. Invest in a decent dog coat
Some dogs will despise the rain and short furred breeds such as whippets and boxers with feel the cold a lot more than other breeds, so consider getting a warm and waterproof coat for your dog. Make sure it fits them properly and is waterproof, not just showerproof. This will also reduce some of the drying time when you get home. Of course you can put a coat on the most energetic of springer spaniels and it will still come home filthy muddy from the armpits down.
6. Remember, you signed up for this!
I know this isn’t really a tip but the reality is you decided to get a dog, so you get all the highs and lows that comes with it. Plus, winter won’t last forever… although the British Summer isn’t exactly renowned for its dry season at least the rain is a little warmer and you can leave them outside to dry off after hosing them down.