It's getting colder in many parts of the country, and you know what that means - snow! While snow can be magical, it can also be scary for pups who have never seen it before! Here are some tips on how to introduce your dog to snow so that they'll have easier potty breaks and fun play time.
Check the Area
This is an important safety tip before play time or potty time begins. Make sure the area you're taking your pup is clear of salt and other dangerous winter snow supplies like antifreeze. You also want to make sure there's not too much slippery ice (for both your dog and you). After you're done playing, be sure to wipe down your pup's paws (if they're bare) and brush out their coat just to get any excess salt or ice off.
Cover Up Those Paws
Puppies and dogs who have never experienced snow before can oftentimes be thrown off by how cold it is on their paws. Thankfully, there's a solution for that - shoes! It may sound silly, but your dog should be wearing paw protection in colder temperatures to ensure they don't get frostbite on their little feetsies. There are both cloth and rubber booties that you can secure to your dog's feet so that they can walk comfortably on snowy and icy grass and pavement.
Start off Leashed
Even if you're playing in a fenced-in area, start off with your pup on a leash when they first experience snow. This will ensure that they feel protected by you and that they don't get too overwhelmed. If your pup is leash-trained and knows how to stay calm when on one, this can help them keep their cool (haha) when first seeing big snowdrifts. For tiny pups and big snowfalls, this is important in order to make sure they don't burrow too far in the snow or get lost in a big pile!
Stick to a Small Area
If you feel your pup will be fine off leash, stick to a small area first before allowing them run around a bigger area. The intention here is the same as with them being on a leash - it ensures that they don't get too overwhelmed and that you can keep an eye on them.
Play With Friends
To help show your pup how snow works, invite their more experienced snow buddies over to play! If your dog trusts their friends, they'll see that they're having fun in the snow and start having a positive association with it. If you consistently have playdates on snowy days, then for them snow time = play time, which can help make outside time (even in frigid temps) exciting.
Dig Out a Potty Area
If your pup usually goes potty in your yard, their favorite spots probably get covered when it snows. Clear out a spot for them to go potty, especially if they're tiny, so that they feel comfortable using the bathroom and don't feel confused by the snow.
Make Use of Your Fresh Patch
And, if after all this, your pup still hates the snow, make use of your Fresh Patch on snowy days. Providing your puppy a fresh grass potty when they can't smell or see the grass outside can help them feel much more comfortable and less stressed when it comes to potty time.