The holiday season is upon us, and the whole family is looking forward to a joyful and relaxing time, and a well-earned winter holiday. But what about the dog? Are you concerned about what to do with your pet whilst you’re away? Don’t leave your best friend behind this winter! There are many ways to make the holiday pleasant for both you and your dog.
Winter holiday checklist
- Make sure your pet’s shots are up-to-date and carry documentation.
- Have medications on hand.
- Secure tags properly and carry vet/emergency phone numbers.
- Think about how you go from A to B, and how to make the travelling nice for the whole family, including your dog.
- Create a home-like environment by bringing a crate, a familiar pillow or blanket and your dog’s favourite toys.
- Keep a regular feeding and sleeping schedule.
- Bring an extra leash, a portable water dish, a first-aid kit and cleaning supplies.
- Protect you dog’s paws from winer and snow. Trim your dog’s nails and the hair around their feet to prevent chunks of frozen matter from accumulating in their fur.
- Consider investing in all-weather booties to protect your pet’s paws from injuries caused by rough terrain.
- De-icing materials like salt can be rough on sensitive foot pads, so bring paw wax or cream made especially for this purpose.
- Be respectful of the surroundings and bring baggies to clean up after your pet.
Where to go?
There are a lot of dog-friendly winter accommodations that offer you a great opportunity to spend time in the snow with your four-legged friend. Here are some of the best pet-friendly holiday locations.
- Austria: Austria is a very dog-friendly country where you canbring your pet in most restaurants. You can do lots of great winter activities with your pet in the mountains of Austria.
- France: France has some of the best winter resorts in the world and is consistently rated as the most pet-friendly country in all of Europe. So why not bring your pet to France?
- Italy: Italians love their furry friends and most of the time, you’ll be able to bring your dog with you into stores, hotels and even restaurant dining areas. Most hotels will welcome pets, although some charge extra fees.
- Switzerland: If you are looking for a winter wonderland, you should bring your pup to the Swiss Alps. The nature is beautiful and the Swiss are fond of four-legged travelers.
- Norway: Norway has many pet-friendly hotels, so finding accommodations for you and your dog shouldn’t be a problem. Norway also has plenty of open space, meaning travelers and their dogs can get their daily exercise.
- Canada: Winter holidays in Canada offer everything from winter sports to Northern Lights viewing. There are many pet-friendly resorts which offer fantastic skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports. From budget lodgings to luxurious resorts, there is a wide variety of pet-friendly accommodations in Canada. What are you waiting for?
Some of the most popular winter activities for people with pets include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on pet-designated trails. A winter adventure is a great way to spend time with your best friend plus, it’s a bonding experience that will get you both in shape. But winter activities with dogs takes some preparation, know-how and common sense. Of course, preparation is needed no matter where you bring your dog, but in winter you need to factor in the ways in which cold weather affects your four-legged friend.
- Pick a good route and be aware of the trail rules: Nordic centers, national parks, farmland, and backcountry wilderness are all great places to take your dog for a snowshoe-adventure (take proper precautions in wilderness, though). Some areas charge a fee for your four-legged companion, require leashes or offer certain trails only for dogs. Figure out the details before you go. If you are planning a route where hunting is allowed, then be ultra-aware of hunting season rules!
- Know your dog’s fitness level and abilities: Not all dog breeds can handle winter and snow like a St. Bernard. If you’re unsure about your dog’s fitness level, you should ask your vet for advice. Start out on short excursions to see how your pup handles the route and the weather. Remember that romping through the snow is more physically demanding on your dog than it is on you.
- Your dog must be under your control: Make sure your pup can heel, sit, stay, and come at your verbal command. Your dog should be well trained before you bring it on a winter trip. But even with a well-behaved dog on your side, you should always bring a leash. Even the best-trained dogs can ignore voice commands if they see something interesting.
- Take care of the paws: Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air, chilly rain and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy skin. Keep nails cut short and the fur between the toes trimmed. Different kinds of dog booties are also available for paw-protection. If you go without booties, check your dog’s paws frequently during your outing. When you get home, let your pup’s paws defrost in the warmth of the indoors. You can even buy some dog paw salve and apply it to his or her pads before bed to heal cracks or dryness.
- Bring supplies: Always bring doggie bags, foldable water bowls and treats. Just like you, your dog needs a little fuel during the day to keep the energy level up and finish the trip. If you’re going on a big excursion, a first aid kit and extra supplies in case of unforeseen incidents are a good idea.