As most of you have figured out by now, owning a dog is a year-round gig. And while that means year-round cuddles and year-round companionship, it also means year-round dog walking — even in the rainy Seattle winter. Not exactly the cleanest part of the job.
Muddy paw prints in the house are no one’s favorite, but walking your dog is necessary. Like humans, dogs need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. Not only are active dogs are less likely to develop diseases like diabetes and arthritis, but they also exhibit better moods and more consistent sleeping patterns. Plus, because they’ve already gotten their activity in for the day, a tired dog is less likely to misbehave while you’re away.
All things considered, it can still be tough to motivate yourself to brave the rain (and the dark) for your pup’s daily walk. Something about the overcast nature of Seattle’s winter and the inherent early sundown come autumn truly makes the day feel shorter. We get it, and that’s why Strut the Pup is here to help!
Tips for Walking Your Dog in the Dark
One of the most challenging parts of walking your pooch in the winter isn’t actually the weather — it’s how quickly the sun sets in the winter. To keep both you and your dog safe, here’s a review of our tips for walking your dog at night:
- Use a leash
- Wear bright or light-colored clothing (bonus points for something reflective)
- Dress your pooch in something reflective
- Walk in well-lit areas
- Bring a flashlight along, just in case
Most of these are common sense, but we feel it’s important to reiterate. Dogs have stronger sniffers than we do, which puts them at an advantage when the sun goes down — but any squirrel or stray cat could send them running, so it’s on us as the dog owners to make sure everyone’s safe.
Tips for Walking Your Dog in the Rain (or Snow!)
Walking in the dark is one thing, but walking in the dark and the rain is another challenge entirely. To keep yourself safe, your pup happy, and your house clean, here are some tips for walking smarter when the weather gets soggy:
1. Prep Your Entry Area
Prepare for your return before you leave! Your pup is inevitably going to get muddy, so the name of the game is preemptively minimizing the mess. Have towels ready in your entryway for an immediate dry-off.
2. Dress Appropriately
We’re sure you have enough rain gear by now, so just make sure to bring it along for those wintry dog walks. Some dogs can even be trained to wear their own coats and boots — if you’re lucky enough to have a dog so tolerant, it’s not a bad idea to suit them up too!
3. Take Note of Puddles
If you’ve noticed a big puddle a-wellin’ on a certain corner, it’s best to just re-route and avoid entirely. Puddles can be all too tempting, especially for pups who love to swim.
4. Train for Thoughtful Shaking
It’s not as simple to teach as a handshake, but a full body shake is arguably more useful for your Seattle doggo to master. Training your dog to shake on command means avoiding dirty debris launching all over your living room, and that’s an idea we’re sure you can get behind.
5. Finish with a Quick Rinse
When you first get home, take a quick trip to the backyard to hose off some paws before heading inside. Your dog’s paws may still be damp, but at least they’re not muddy!
6. Opt for Inside
Finally, when it’s coming down just a little too hard outside, it’s sometimes best to opt for indoor activities. It’s possible for dogs to catch a cold too, so consider indoor options when the going gets ruff; short-range fetch, hide-and-go-seek, or a treat puzzle are all ways to engage your dog inside.
There are also indoor dog parks scattered across the city; these indoor social clubs are great for both exercise and doggie socialization.
Seattle Dog Walkers in Winter
If walking during the winter still seems like too much, you also have the option of hiring a dog walker. Dog walkers from the Strut the Pup are well-versed in these tips — it’s our job to keep your dog safe and healthy! With a dog walker, both you and your pup can rest easy knowing they’ve had an active, fulfilling day. Get ready for cuddles when you get home!