Go Snowshoeing With Your Dog!
Special Interest: Sports - Winter
Snowshoeing isn’t your average walk around block or typical hike. You’ll need a lot more energy to tromp on fresh winter snow, but the learning curve for snowshoeing is relatively low. Just walk! Your dog should be able to walk comfortably in deep snow with enough stamina and strength to go long distances. As with any fitness activity, gradually work yourself up to longer distances every season.
Snowshoes are designed to let you walk on snow without sinking all the way in. Most snowshoes just fit on your regular shoes or boots. Today’s recreational snowshoes come in a variety of styles and models. Overall, equipment is relatively less expensive compared to other winter sports like skiing or snowboarding.
The best trails are often found at resorts or large state parks, otherwise make sure you have a base of at least 4-6 inches of packed snow. Snowshoes are also available for dogs, but most will opt to to use wax or booties on their dogs.
Interested in backcountry snowshoeing? You, or someone in your party, will need to be knowledgeable about the area before you go. Trails may not be marked well. A blanket of white snow on the ground may make trails even harder to spot. We highly advise reading up on winter survival tips, especially if you and your dog gets lost or develops frostbite and worse, hypothermia. If your area has a risk of avalanche, stay informed of conditions and what to do in the event of an avalanche.
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Activities: Snowshoeing, Hiking, Snow Play
Items Needed: Snowshoes, Paw Protection (Shoes or Wax), Coat, Layered Clothing, Harness, Water, 6-Foot Leash, Poop Bags, Snacks, GPS Device (optional), Leash, Map, Eye Protection, Sunscreen, First Aid Kit, Whistle, Appropriate Survival Gear, Extra Clothing (optional), and Poles (optional).
Safety: Consult your vet to make sure it is safe to take your dog out in the cold, especially if you have a younger or older dog who could get frostbite or hypothermia. Your dog will warm up as he moves, but watch for shivering, slow breathing, lethargy, and dilated pupils. Those are signs to head back, put an extra coat or blanket on your dog. You may also want to give him some warm water. Don't forget to trim the fur between your dog's paws! Going on a new trail or mountain area - go with a friend - safety in numbers.
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