Are you planning on hitting the slopes with your dog? If so, then you’ll need to make sure that you’re ready to handle it. In addition to getting your dog familiar with basic commands, you may also need to invest in some gear to make sure they stay warm and don’t have any problems going forwards. Let’s dive in and we’ll show you what you need to purchase to make sure that your next trip goes powder-smooth.
1. First Aid Kit
As always, when you’re out away from civilization it’s important that you’ll be able to take care of any cuts or bruises that come along. Skiing with your dog isn’t overly dangerous, but it does have risks that many people don’t consider before they go out.
That means you’ll want to make sure that you have a dog-friendly first aid kit on hand. Without it, your canine may end up taking a serious injury that you’re unable to treat.
Since most cross-country skiing trails are closed to dogs, that often means you’ll be in the backcountry. That means your first aid kit is doubly important, as you’ll be much farther from help than most instances.
2. Snow Boots
Make sure that your dog doesn’t get frostbite on their feet by investing in a good pair of canine snow boots. You’ll want to fit them before you head out with your canine companion, and it’s a good idea to go for a couple of smaller hikes before you do so.
That will allow the boots to break in. Your dog also needs to be comfortable in them since they’ll be trying to keep up while you’re out and about on skis.
That means not just any pair will do, so spend some time ensuring that you’ve got the best fit for your pooch.
3. Snow Jacket
Have you ever been caught in the snow without a waterproof coat? It melts into the fibers and you’re left with a cold, shivering mess.
The same can happen to your dog’s fur, especially if they’re not a breed that’s known for cold-resistance like a Husky. It’s doubly important for dogs with thin, short, single coats.
You’ll want to look for all of the same stuff you look for in your own snow jackets. It needs to have a waterproof outer shell, a bit of insulation, proper fitting, and be comfortable to wear. Since your dog isn’t going to be taking it off very often during the trip it pays off to get them used to it in the leadup.
4. Skijoring Harness
You may not necessarily want to go skijoring, but it’s a great way for any dog over 35lbs to go exercising. In this sport, the dog actually pulls you along while you’re on skis and a special harness is tethered to both of you to make it easier.
A good harness is durable but still allows for quick release in dicey situations. It’s really the closest you’ll get to having your dog leashed while you’re on the slopes, so carefully consider whether or not you want to give it a shot.
Don’t try just leashing your dog and going for it. You’ll end up in trouble with a quickness.
5. Protective Wax
Since your dog is going to be running in the snow, it makes sense to take the same precautions as sled dogs. There are protective waxes out there that help prevent frostbite and, combined with snow boots, will ensure that your dog remains in good condition no matter how far you go.
It’s 100% necessary if you’re using a dog that isn’t going to be using snow boots. “Musher’s Secret” is the preferred brand for most sled dogs and you should do your best to emulate them since they know how to provide extended protection for dog’s feet in cold conditions.
6. Refreshed Obedience Training
There are a ton of distractions on the slopes. Trees, squirrels, wildlife. There are bushes to roam in and new sensations all around. The problem is that, depending on your circumstances, it can also be dangerous out there.