The dog owner's winter guide

Last updated 08:00 19/06/2012

Many people have now hunkered down to winter and be thinking the last thing they want to do is take the dog for a  walk. You may have had all the intentions to take your dog for a walk the other day but found it (as I did the other day) -1C and absolutely freezing. However, the downside is if I don't take them for a walk my two dogs will just get into trouble.

Tappet in the snowSo what do you need to consider for your dog this time of year and how do you handle it?

Cold: Yes it is cold but, unlike people, most dogs come with an impressive waterproof layer keeping them fairly snug. If you have a dog without that fur coat, maybe invest in one.

Darkness: You can get blinking lights for your dogs so that when they're off lead you can see them if it's too dark. But at this time of year, make sure you can see your dog at all times as, believe it or not, their vision is not excellent in the dark.

Exercise: You need to get out at this time of year to keep your dog sane. As great as I am sure your view is, nothing compares to getting out and smelling the roses. Enjoy it and take your gloves and beanie and have some fun.

Snow: Your dogs will love snow and depending on how they cope you can even buy little bootees. This is great if you plan to go skiing this year with your dogs (yes, some local mountains let you bring your dog).

Most of all have some fun and keep safe out there this winter.

Simon Goodall is CEO of Dog Guru Ltd, a nationwide dog training company. 

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Moi   #1   08:44 am Jun 19 2012

Where are these dog friendly mountains you speak of? Any in the South Island? My Goldie would wet her pants with excitement if I took her skiing!

Jo   #2   08:57 am Jun 19 2012

I have recently added a White German Shepherd pup to my household, he is 13 weeks old at present and still waiting to have his last jab before we get out and about. Luckily we have a large section, so I am able to walk him around on his lead in the mornings before work. I just thank my lucky stars that it is dark in the morning as my usual attire includes, PJ pants, dressing gown, ski jacket, beanie and gumboots - am I the only nutter out there first thing in the morning in half sleep, half ski attire??

DAPSNZ   #3   09:15 am Jun 19 2012

The Dog Abuse Prevention Society New Zealand (DAPSNZ) is very aware at this cold time of year, that there are many thousands of dogs in New Zealand, living outside in substandard kennels, (the owners are often under the delusion that these are 'nice warm kennels') and suffering badly. Today’s breeds are not like wild dogs, they are so different that their needs are different. Small dogs and dogs with short haired coats in particular, quickly get too cold, sitting standing or lying around outside. So a good brisk walk is excellent, but we do try to encourage people to bring their dogs indoors to live. We are happy to provide more information to anyone interested. Just contact us at

ksb   #4   09:18 am Jun 19 2012

I'd also love to know where these dog friendly snowy places are...but North island ones! We are also nutcases who go walking twice a day throughout winter, rain or shine :)

Lucky#13   #5   09:32 am Jun 19 2012

We have a siberian husky who requires a lot of exercise every day. The answer, if it is too cold to walk, then go for a run. The running keeps me warm, and I'm pretty sure that being a husky she's not so worried about the cold.

Rita   #6   09:37 am Jun 19 2012

Jo #2, No, you're not the only nutter dressed like that in the morning. My dogs much prefer snoozing by the fire, but I'm out there in a similar outfit to feed the chooks! Dogs get tossed out when I come in.

LoriM   #7   09:38 am Jun 19 2012

Its not just you Jo! My neighbours are used to my PJ/puffa jacket/beanie gumboot combo in the mornings... We are lost without our 'dog torches' for winter walks. Certainly makes an evening walk less stressful if we can see them. We also make sure they have different colour lights, so we know which is which. I've noticed that my bitch seems to have fairly poor night vision, if she can't see us, she just sits and waits for us to find her. Our dog doesn't care, and he runs and runs (sometimes just in circles). Those bracing winter walks can actually be rather pleasant, provided you are dressed for the occasion of course.

Missy   #8   09:42 am Jun 19 2012

Anyone know any dog friendly mountains near Christchurch. My dog loves the snow he would be very keen to play in more of it.

@Jo - You aren't the only one this time of year I often put a ski jacket and trackies over my pj for our morning dog walk.

Nicola   #9   10:21 am Jun 19 2012

No way there are others LOL! I was outside our house yesterday morning playing early morning fetch with my young dog in a big thick baby blue dressing gown over Pjs, gumboots(not my best ones!)whilst wearing a treatbag strapped round my waist which to anyone who saw me and didn't know it was a dog training treatbag would definitely of thought it was a fanny pack.. Hopefully the young builders who snapped me out doing this from my neighbors section don't spread the word there's a loony on my street ;)

Siobhan   #10   10:23 am Jun 19 2012

A very timely article this morning. We shifted to Australia with the cat and dog in February and now it's usually -4 or -5 every morning. Walkies have to happen but at the moment all three of us are huddled around the fire. It's misty, frosty and stone cold out there. I have a Doberman who needs loads of exercise but I have to wait until the sun comes up!! There's some days I wish he would enjoy running on a treadmill but where's the sniffing fun in that? As an aside- I have never lived anywhere where there are so many angry dogs (there are many, many streets where we have to cross the road to avoid the angry beasts), or dogs that take themselves for walkies. Incredible as it's $880 instant fine if you don't pick up your dog poo but people let their dogs go roaming...Bizarre.

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