Winter is here and in Summit County there are great activities for you and your dog to enjoy together. Just keep in mind puppies and older dogs are more susceptible to the elements. Unless your dog has a thick coat, he may benefit from doggy clothing. Check the paws for snow buildup. If that’s a problem buy mushers ointment to smear between the pads. Be sure they are in good health, and watch for hypothermia evidenced by exaggerated shivering, dilated pupils and lethargy.
Here are some great ideas to get you both started.
• Skijoring: It’s cross-country skiing combined with dog mushing/racing. Classes at the Gold Run Nordic Center are led by certified dog trainer and PSIA instructor Louisa Morrisey, with Skijor-N-More.
• Fetch: Throw anything brightly colored, wait for dog to return and repeat!
• Tracking: Train your dog to track scents. Tracking is fun for dogs and their humans. Dogs like to find stuff. Consider joining search and rescue, call a local trainer or get a tracking training book to get started.
• Walk, hike or run: Walking or running is a great way to exercise yourself and your dog.
• Snowshoe trek: Snowshoeing with dogs is even allowed at most Nordic centers. Remember that it can be exhausting for your dog, so start slow or you will be carrying him home!
Dr. Dolamore is a retired veterinarian living in Summit County with her husband, son and three dogs. Send you pet health and wellness questions and topics to firstname.lastname@example.org