How to Snowshoe With Your Dog

How to Snowshoe With Your Dog

By Sarah Ritchie for Exceptional Canine

How to Snowshoe With Your Dog

Snowshoeing with your dog is a unique and fun way to get out and enjoy the snowy winter months. And itís not just for the big breeds. My Chihuahua, which hates rain, will eagerly leap out of the car when we arrive at the mountain for some snowshoeing action. Itís a great workout for yourself and your dog. However, there are some things both you and your dog will need to make it a safe and comfortable adventure.

What You Will Need

  • Warm layers you can peel off if you start to sweat
  • Waste bags
  • Snacks
  • A cell phone, in case of emergencies
  • A map of the area, if available

What Your Dog Will Need

  • Water and a travel dish
  • Treats
  • A jacket (for smaller dogs)
  • Shoes (not all dogs need these; they can cause smaller breeds to slip)
  • A backpack (itíll add to your dogís workout, and it provides a handy place to store treats and bags)
  • A small waterproof mat to sit on during a break

Take Precautions and Be Flexible
In addition to bringing all the right equipment, youíll want to research the area in which youíll be snowshoeing. Know the route in advance and plan for a trip that can be shortened if need be. Snowshoeing is a rigorous sport, so make sure you and your dog do not hike out too far without the energy to return back. Even if you are familiar with the area, if this is your dogís first time snowshoeing, youíll want to limit your actual time out in the woods until you know how your dog responds to the new environment. Check in advance to ensure that dogs are permitted in the area where you are going to snowshoe.

Other Factors to Consider
Snow might clump in your dogís paws and cause discomfort. Stop regularly to see if this is happening and to clean your dogís paws. Also:

  • Keep your dog on-leash: Snow may mask scents, causing your dog to become disoriented
  • Be on the lookout for animal tracks and any other wildlife activity
  • Stay on well-marked trails
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return

Being well-prepared will make this a more enjoyable new experience for both you and your dog.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/lightpix

Exceptional Canine expert Sarah Ritchie is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys writing about her many West Coast adventures with her two spirited mixed-breed rescue dogs, Tiggy and Holly. Her website is WestCoastDogs.com.