Tips for dog walks in autumn and winter

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Tips for dog walks in autumn and winter

Even in autumn and winter, dogs have to go out into the fresh air several times a day. There are some special features to consider when walking, because in the cold and dark seasons there are several dangers for dog and owner. You should pay particular attention to these five aspects on autumn walks and winter walks with the dog.

1. Danger of slipping when walking the dog in autumn and winter

Damp weather and fallen leaves are a dangerous mix. If the first frost occurs, the floor becomes slippery and slippery.

Regardless of whether you are out on foot or by bike: If your dog pulls on the leash, you can slip quickly. In addition, drivers of cars, motorcycles and bicycles cannot brake so quickly on slippery surfaces and in wet conditions, which is why double caution is required when walking in autumn and winter.

Warning: slightly frozen waters are treacherous, the ice is still very thin and can collapse.

It is slippery and slippery on walks in autumn and winter. © alexei_tm-stock.adobe.com

2. Acorns and chestnuts are life threatening to dogs

When taking your dog for a walk in autumn, you should make sure that your dog does not eat or nibble on acorns or chestnuts. Acorns contain the substance tannin, which is toxic to dogs. Depending on the amount, the dog can vomit, diarrhea, or fatal kidney failure.

In addition, swallowed acorns can lead to life-threatening intestinal obstruction. Small pieces of glans, especially the pointed shell, can also damage the intestinal wall. The same goes for chestnuts.

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In this context, caution is particularly important when the dog is digging through a pile of leaves: Here it can swallow acorns and chestnuts without you noticing. In addition, worm eggs are often hidden in the foliage. Therefore, you should also take a wormer in autumn.

Dogs shouldn’t eat acorns on autumn walks. © Virginia-stock.adobe.com

3. Do not let your dog drink from puddles while walking

Dogs should not drink from puddles during autumn and winter walks. This is because bacteria can collect in the puddles, which small rodents such as mice or rats excrete in the urine. The so-called leptospira feel particularly comfortable in stagnant waters.

If dogs drink from puddles or water holes that contain these bacteria, they become infected with the deadly disease leptospirosis!

This danger does not only exist in autumn and winter, but all year round! The leptospira feel particularly comfortable in warm waters, but can also last for several weeks in cool waters! Especially in autumn it rains a lot and the puddles are always full.

Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs

The bacteria spreads in the dog’s body within about a week. The first symptoms of leptospirosis during this time are often non-specific in dogs. These include:

  • fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dog is limp
  • Diarrhea / vomiting
  • yellowish mucous membranes

If the dog is not treated in the early stages of the disease, it will lead to fatal kidney failure. It is therefore important that you …

  • … don’t let your dog drink from puddles in the first place.
  • … watch your dog closely in the following days, in case he has been drinking from a puddle.
  • … consult a veterinarian immediately at the first symptoms, even if they are unspecific.
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    Vaccination against leptospirosis in dogs

    There are vaccinations against leptospirosis in dogs. However, it is important that a vaccine is used that protects against all four subspecies of the pathogen. Older vaccines often do not meet this criterion, which is why vaccinated dogs can also develop leptospirosis. It is best to ask your veterinarian for advice.

    Not fully vaccinated dogs should never drink from puddles when walking! © nataba-stock.adobe.com

    4. Good visibility even when walking in autumn and winter

    In autumn and winter it gets light late and dark early. Morning and evening walks therefore often take place at dusk or in the dark. You should therefore pay attention to the following when taking a walk:

    • Equip yourself and your dog with lights. This is important so that drivers, cyclists and joggers can recognize you from afar.
    • If your dog is allowed to run free, it is particularly important that you equip him with a luminous collar or harness.

    Warning: reflectors only flash when light falls on them. Where there is no street lighting, only the luminous collar draws attention to the wearer.

    The dog should also be equipped with lights for walks in autumn and winter. © Angela Rohde-stock.adobe.com

    5. Properly groom your dog before and after autumn and winter walks

    With regard to grooming and the dog’s health, there are some special features in autumn and winter. You should pay attention to these aspects before, during and after a walk in the cold seasons:

    • Keep your dog on the move when it’s cold! Most dogs don’t mind the cold. However, if you stand in one place for a long time, for example when the owner is talking to someone for a long time, you can cool down and freeze.
    • Most dogs do not need “winter clothing”. They are protected from the cold by their winter fur. Young, old or sick dogs or dogs with no undercoat (e.g. Chihuahua) are an exception here.
    • Wetness is usually more dangerous than cold: If your dog has gotten wet from rain, snow or jumping into water, he can no longer keep himself really warm. He has to get dry again quickly, otherwise he will catch a cold. For dogs that are completely wet, rubbing them with a towel is not enough.
    • Check your dog for fleas before returning home from a walk. If the dog has rummaged in a pile of leaves in which a hedgehog was staying, fleas may have jumped on your dog.
    • Adjust the amount of food to the temperatures: In the cold seasons, a walk costs more energy, which is why you should slightly increase the amount of food. The emphasis here is on light, because the dog should of course not develop overweight. Perform the transition slowly to protect the dog’s digestive tract.
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