For humans, winter sports are often a source of relaxation and rejuvenation. But depending on your temperament, these holidays can also be very sporty. For dogs, winter sports are an opportunity to have fun: generally, they love snow, even if small dogs and those who do not have a lot of hair quickly get cold … Also, if you are wondering how to have fun with your dog and what snow sports you can share with him, here are our suggestions.
Suggestion number 1: the walk
Is walking a sport? Some may laugh. However, evolving in powder snow, without a racket, is a sport. It takes great muscular effort to move forward when the legs sink deep into the snow layer. And there is no doubt that your 4-legged companion, even if he has two more limbs, will also quickly run out.
Also, it is probably wiser to consider a walk on marked and groomed paths, including some detours occasional off-trail, to go for a ride with your dog in the fresh layer of snow, and play to send him snowballs that he will sometimes look for a long time before admitting that he lost it in the white immensity .
Suggestion number 2: sledding
No, sledding is not just for children! However, if you want to do it with your dog, you are not going to be able to invest in the paid trails that are popping up more and more in the resorts. You will have to improvise and find quiet corners, often after the slopes have closed. In addition, sledding can only be practiced with your dog if certain rules are respected. There is no question of improvising a sledging session, holding the sled straps with one hand and your dog’s leash in the other. You have to invest in suitable equipment that allows the dog to tow without hurting itself. The acquisition of such equipment is not lost anyway because it will allow you to practice other sports apart from winter sports. It is on the one hand a harness “Xback”, dog traction harness whose shape follows the shape of the dog’s body, forming an X on the back to distribute the traction forces. On the other hand, it is what is called a line of line which serves to dampen tension and thus protect you and your dog.
If the space in which you are living allows it, that is to say essentially if the places are not frequented, you can also let your dog run freely alongside you. But make sure by some preliminary tests that he is able to obey as well as usual. His safety and that of others is at stake: if he gets too mad from the excitement of the snow and becomes disobedient, give up letting him loose. As for you, it goes without saying that you have to control your sledge: you must be able to brake effectively if your dog passes in front of you, so as not to injure him.
Suggestion number 3: Skijoering
Behind this deliciously Swedish name hides the idea of cross-country skiing linked to your dog by a line: it is the same equipment as for sledding. The distance of the line must take into account the length of the skis. It goes without saying that you should not consider starting cross-country skiing with your dog. You have to be comfortable.
What is possible on a cross-country ski trail (check with the local tourist office to make sure dogs are not prohibited) is not possible on an alpine ski trail. The only dogs you will see there are those of ski patrollers or ski lift pole vaulters: when the slopes close, when skiers are scarce, you can observe a skier tumbling down with a dog frolicking by his side, or even a motorbike. snow in the trailer of which a dog is firmly encamped on its legs.
The most seasoned of skiers keen to go downhill skiing with their dog will turn to off-piste to do what is called ski touring. It is not only a question of level: it is also necessary to know the mountain, its dangers and its areas to be preserved. This practice is considered dangerous and the reliefs of the mountains can be tricky for those who do not know the place like the back of their hand.
Suggestion number 4: the trottiski
The trottiski is a scooter on which the wheels have been replaced by two skis and which can therefore slide on snow. Your dog is harnessed to it and tows you. This can be done on a deserted road or a sled dog track. Find out beforehand if it is a private road or if you can use the track.
It is arguably the only true dog pulling sport on the list: its practice requires your dog to respond quickly to simple commands such as stop, left, right, etc., like sled dogs. You can achieve good speed in a straight line. Your dog must therefore be in good physical condition, even if you can help him by pushing with one leg like on a classic scooter.
Our advice to make snow sports go well
Winter sports resorts act so that pedestrians can move around safely. Their weapon against frost and anything that can cause slippage: salt. Effective in melting ice, it can be problematic for your dog’s pads. This salt is usually mixed with chemicals and sand that are irritating to the underside of dogs. They can even create burns.
The best prevention is to rinse his paws with warm soapy water after each walk. Don’t wait for him to lick his paws as he could ingest these chemicals and get sick. Get rid of the idea of making her a restorative balm with coconut oil. Indeed, one should not wait for the wounds to worsen to seek the advice of a veterinarian because the treatment differs depending on whether your dog suffers from burns, cracks or open wounds.
On the other hand, although there is an abundance of snow, the air in the mountains is generally dry. It is important for your dog that you always have water available for him to drink. If you think he’ll eat snow if he’s thirsty, that’s not wrong, but it is putting you in unnecessary trouble. Indeed, the ingestion of snow can disturb the intestines to a greater or lesser extent.
Finally, consider increasing your daily food intake. It is essential to meet your needs caloric, necessarily increased due to the cold (his body spends more energy to maintain a satisfactory temperature) and activities (winter sports holidays are often among the most active and intense in effort).