Our dogs go with us everywhere and nothing is more fun than going out together on a snowy, winter day. You can do more than just walk your dog in the snow. In fact, if you’re a skier, you may enjoy taking your dog along!
More and more people are taking their fur babies along on ski trips. The trips may involve backcountry skiing, cross-country skiing, or even something called skijoring. The high-energy and calories used up are healthy for you both. So, just what do you need to consider when taking your dog skiing?
What to do with dog while skiing?
If you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s probably best to leave your fur baby at home. At home, he’ll be sure to stay warm and comfortable while you’re out skiing.
On the other hand, if you already know the answer to this question, then read on to learn more about taking your dog skiing!
Choose the Type of Skiing
There are different types of skiing, with some being great for dogs while others are not recommended
Cross Country Skiing: this is similar to a nice walk in the woods—more like hiking. You may find groomed trails nearby or you may choose to visit the backcountry for more challenging fun.
Skate Skiing: this is a bit like cross country skiing but is more of a full workout. This is a high-energy activity best for dogs who can take the faster pace. You’ll need to look for professionally groomed trails, not all of which are dog-friendly.
Skijoring: this is a combination of cross country skiing and dog sledding. Skiing with dogs harness: for this, your dog will need to wear a special sledding harness. The harness is connected to you, the pet parent, but a towline that’s connected to your human harness. As you ski along, your dog also pulls you. You can do this with one or more dogs. Be sure your dog weighs at least 35 lbs. and has the stamina and energy for this strenuous activity.
What You Need to Know
Your dog will need to know some basic commands and be well-behaved when going on the ski trail with you. You never know when you’ll meet other humans, animals, etc. You’ll need to teach your dog some basic commands before you go out together.
1). For cross country and skate skiing: your pup will need to stay in front or off to the side of the trail, in order to avoid being hit by your skis or poles. It’s too easy for your dog to be injured if he stays behind you.
2). Stepping off the trail: your dog will need to be trained to step off the trail when other skiers pass. This is just good manners and trail courtesy.
3). Trail manners: again, you’ll need to make sure your dog obeys your commands on the trail. Voice control is a must, since most skiing with your dog is done off-leash. Not only is this a matter of good manners, but don’t forget you and your dog’s safety, along with that of other skiers. Oh, and don’t forget if your fur baby goes poo on the trail, be sure to pick it up and pack it out. Did you know that poo sticks to skis? Can you imagine going home and scraping poo off your skis? Probably not—and no one else would enjoy this, either.
4). Keep your dog warm: hypothermia is dangerous to you and your dog. To keep him warm on the trail, be sure to take along a winter coat especially made for dogs. Be sure it’s the right size and fits your dog well. Insulated coats or sweaters are great for dogs who may not be tolerant of the cold or don’t have thick, insulated fur coats to keep them warm while skiing. You may even want to consider bringing along some dog snow boots to keep your pup’s paws protected and warm. Boots will keep his paws free of ice balls and other problems. And his feet won’t get cut on rocks or ice on the trail.
5). Take the right gear: when you go out skiing, you’ll want to make sure to have along all the gear you’ll need for you and your fur baby. Bring these along:
- Bungee leash: a leash with a little stretch is great for skiing adventures.
- Dog backpack: a special backpack your dog can wear—he can carry some of his own gear! Check out this backpack for dogs: Lifeunion Adjustable Service Dog Supply Backpack Saddle Bag for Camping Hiking Training.
- Portable bowls: you’ll want to bring along portable bowls for water and snacks. Snow doesn’t provide enough hydration for your dog when he’s out romping in the snow for hours. Be sure to bring along water and bowls to help him keep hydrated and keep up his energy while you’re out having fun. You might consider these bowls: the IDEGG Collapsible Silicone Dog Bowl.
- Vet wrap: this slightly sticky, tacky wrap is great in case your dog injures himself—great for cuts on you or your dog. Here’s some multi-colored rolls of vet wrap—perfect for a ski trip: Juvale Vet Wraps.
- Heated pads: chemical hand warmers are great to have along on a long day of skiing. You can put them in your gloves and boots or use them to warm up your dog if he becomes too cold. Check out these hand warmers: HotHands Hand Warmers.
- Pet first aid kit: with any medications your dog may require in an emergency, along with other first aid supplies for dogs.
Skiing with Dog in Backpack
If you’d like to take your pup along on a ski trip, but he doesn’t have the stamina to keep up with you, consider taking along a backpack dog carrier. Your fur baby stays with you all the time, while you carry him on your back.
One of the best backpack dog carriers is the K9 Sport Sack Flex Dog Carrier Backpack. This backpack is made for you to explore the world with your fur baby—no more leaving him at home when you go skiing or on other adventures. This forward-facing dog carrier backpack keeps your pet close and comfortable. It even doubles as a small- to medium-sized dog airline carrier. This veterinarian approved backpack has ventilated sides, a safety D-ring so you can hook your pup’s collar to the bag and even has adjustable side pockets to carry necessaries.
Use this backpack to carry your dog on ski trips and you’ll both have a great time!
Backcountry Skiing with Dogs
What about backcountry skiing with your fur baby? There are some things to consider before taking your dog out on a backcountry ski trip.
1). Make sure your dog tolerates the cold: at all costs, you’ll want to keep your dog from developing hypothermia or other cold-related problems while out in the backcountry. Make sure he can tolerate the cold well. Make sure to check his paws often for snow balls between his toes and pads. If your dog can’t take the cold, but you still want to bring him along, then outfit him with an insulated doggie winter coat and boots. If he really hates the snow and cold, it’s really best to leave him home where he’s comfortable.
2). Well-mannered and trained: make sure your dog gets along well with other dogs and people. You’ll have a high chance of meeting others out on the trail. You’ll also need to be sure your dog will come when called and will obey commands when off his leash. The backcountry can be a dangerous place—you’ll want to keep your fur baby safe.
3). Never go into avalanche-prone areas: if these areas are off-limits, then you have no business being there or taking your dog there. And don’t forget that dogs can also trigger avalanches, which could put others in danger.
4). Know dog first aid: be sure you know how to administer first aid to your dog before heading out to the backcountry. Remember, you’ll be quite a ways from a veterinarian—you may have to help your dog if he becomes sick or injured. He will be completely dependent on you for all first aid.
5). Avoid busy areas: when out and about with your dog on a ski trip, avoid the busier areas. This way, your pup won’t scare other skiers who may be afraid of dogs. You’ll also avoid the possibility of your dog becoming entangled in a collision with another skier. Not only that, but you may also just avoid a dog fight if another skier has their dog along, too.
Snowboarding with Your Dog
While it may be possible to take your dog snowboarding, it might be best to avoid this activity with your fur baby. Snowboarding is a fast, downhill sport that could cause injury to your dog or others. If you fall and your dog comes after you, he could run in front of other snowboarders or skiers, and cause a bigger accident, while getting hurt himself.
Some people do let their dogs pull the skateboard along, must like skijoring. Again, this should be done in areas without many other people around. This way you and your pup will stay safe, while enjoying the winter and snow.
Pet-Friendly Ski Resorts
One last bit of advice, when you decide to take your dog along on a ski trip, be sure to look for pet-friendly ski resorts. They’re becoming more and more popular with dog lovers. Dog-friendly resorts will feature hotels that allow dogs to stay and may offer pet-friendly trails and more. Some dog-friendly ski resorts even have spas where your dog can enjoy a relaxing massage after a day out on the mountain!
As you can see, it’s fun to take your dog along on a ski trip! With the right training and planning, you can both enjoy a day in the powder!
Related Sources: CNN National Geographic