4 Tips For Winter Dog Walking In Columbus, Ohio

We all know that dogs need exercise despite whatever mother nature decides on a given day. It can be especially tough to get out there, however, when it feels like the arctic!

As experienced dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio, here’s a few tips to make you and your pup’s daily treks more comfortable and enjoyable this time of year.

Tip #1: Bundle Up

Like our parents used to tell us as kids, bundle up before you go outside! Along with “Close the door, were you raised in a barn?” and “Eat your veggies!” …right?

Layering is key to dressing appropriately for winter weather. Also, make sure that whatever outfits you choose are warm and comfortable. Another old adage from childhood applies: “In winter, you can always take a layer off if you’re too warm. In the summer, however, you can only take off so many layers before it’s illegal!”

The same bundle-up protocol applies for your pup, especially for smaller, short-haired breeds. We’ve all seen those cute pics of dog’s in coats in the wintertime, but they do more than make your pet look stylish.

Be sure to have a few sweaters and jackets available for different temperatures and elements. Finally, ensure they’re fitted properly, along with their leashes and harnesses, so they’re fully comfortable and safe while out and about.

Also, don’t forget the booties! If you live in an area where there’s snow or ice on the ground, especially in busy cities, chances are everyone will be salting everything. Consider putting boots on your dog’s paws to protect them from getting burned or dry and cracked.

Make sure to take the time to get them comfy with wearing their new gear first. Otherwise, your first snowfall adventure may be a bust for you both!

Here’s a few tips to help get you started:

One shoe at a time

When you first introduce shoes to your dog, only put on one at a time. Let them check it all out, get the proper feel for wearing it, and if they cooperate (which means not trying to tear their booties off), give them a treat for a job well done!

Come back to the exercise the next day, and now put the shoes/booties on both paws. Each day after that, continue to work up your dog to wearing two boots at once. Reinforce their cooperation with treats, and your fur baby will adjust to their new shoes in no time. 

Start on the carpet

This goes hand-in-hand with the tip above. As you get your dog used to having boots on both paws, start on a carpeted space, as opposed to your kitchen floor or hardwood. This will prevent slipping. Slipping and sliding will not only frustrate your pup, but could be dangerous for them and anything in their way.

Get a head start

Be prepared for winter by starting boot-training in the fall. Then, come wintertime, your pup will be a natural in their booties! Otherwise, you might want to put a pause on their walking routine, since they’re not properly prepped for the winter conditions. Boot-training will guarantee that their walking routines stay consistent!

Continue to reward

As your pup gets used to walking around in their new gear, be sure to reward them with treats and praise. They’ll start to associate wearing their boots and behaving with getting rewarded, which will make them more willing to wear and walk in them!

Be ready to get out your camera

At first, your furry friend may look like a drum major of a marching band trying to walk in their new shoes. But trust us, once they get the hang of it, they will thank you. In the meantime, though, why not get some laughs from the whole ordeal? At the least, snap a few pics for the memory book! You’ll thank us later.

Tip #2: Pup Pedicures

Dog walking in the winter is much more comfortable when the hair between your dog’s paw pads is clipped short. It reduces the likelihood that ice will accumulate on the fur between their paws, which can make it difficult for them to walk as it causes discomfort and dryness.

To protect their paws, give them a wipe after dog walks in the winter. Use a warm wet washcloth or pre-moistened pet wipe. Washing their paws, or simply dipping them in warm water, helps remove salt, ice melt, and/or other chemicals that might cause harm.

Carefully inspect their paws at least once a day, too! If you notice cracking, dryness, or bleeding (or simply want to take preventative measures against these things), then moisturize those little beans! One of the best ways to prevent cracked, rough, and split paw pads is to use a pet-safe skin conditioner or paw wax before your pet goes out in the winter weather.

There are also some great household alternatives like coconut oil or Vaseline. Paw wax and the like forms a protective barrier between the ground and your dog’s paws. It may be an extra step, but it’s well worth the effort to keep your fur baby safe throughout the winter months.

Tip #3: Keep It Short N Sweet

In extremely cold temperatures, limit your walks unless your dog can really handle it and seems comfortable. It’s vital you pay attention to your canine’s body language while braving the cold. Some telltale signs that they’re not a fan of the conditions are:

  • Picking up their paws
  • Licking their paws
  • Whining
  • Consistent shivering

Cut the walk short and head back home immediately if you notice any of these signs persisting. You don’t have to sweat heading out in the cold (unless you’re overly bundled, ha!) as your pup will let you know when they have had enough. All you need to do is stay mindful and watch for the cues. This may mean more frequent, shorter walks in the winter, but less strain on everyone involved.

Now, another layer on all of this is that each dog breed has their own quirks. Some are the cold-loving type, like Siberian Huskies, who can handle temperatures as cold as -60°F. At the same time, smaller breeds prefer more temperate climates and might start feeling the cold at around 45°F. As a general rule, the average dog should not be exposed to temps of 32°F or below for prolonged periods of time.

One final, critical tip is to keep your pup on a short leash when dog walking. As the temperature plummets, the shorter the leash the better. You don’t want to lose your pup in an icy tundra while sniffing around in the snow.

Tip #4: Keep It On The Sidewalk

If your canine companion is a cold-loving breed, such as huskies or malamutes, then they are all set for just about any weather. However, if your pup does not have a thick fur coat, it’s best to avoid snow play during walks. If cold snow touches your pup’s soft and unprotected belly, they will chill much faster than you expect.

Keep your regular walks on sidewalks or cleared trails, so your dog stays warm and dry. And as mentioned, avoid ice and salt as much as possible to ensure nothing gets trapped in those precious paw pads, or keep your pup booties at the ready so you won’t have to worry at all!

>> Check out our latest Facebook Live for more on winter pup preparedness!

In Closing

The daily recommended time for walks varies depending on your dog’s health, size, breed, and more, but it’s typically around 45 mins to 1 hour. But during the cold winter months, dogs only get around 15-20 minutes daily on average. 

It’s no wonder we see an uptick in dogs with anxiety and destructive behavior during this time of year! If you are feeling guilty about leaving your pup home alone or it’s just too darn cold outside for you to go out in it for yourself, don’t worry! Hands N Paws is here for you! We provide dog walking services in Columbus, Ohio. That way, your pup can enjoy some exercise during this time of year and with appropriate precautions! We’re passionate, pet pampering experts!

Our dog walkers will take care of your pup’s needs without risking frostbite or other potential dangers associated with being out in the chilly weather for too long. We implement all the safety measures mentioned above! 



Hello! Thanks for visiting our blog. I'm the proud owner of Columbus's own Hands N Paws, started in 2018 to bring joy to pet parents. See you in the next post!

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The terms of this agreement are as follows: “Client” refers to you, “Company” refers to us (Hands N Paws), “Team Member” refers to the person from our team providing services for  your pets, and “Team Members” refers to the Hands N Paws team as a whole.


It is important to inform Hands N Paws of any specific emergency instructions or medical conditions related to Client’s pets. This will help ensure the safety and well-being of pets during emergencies.

In case any of Client’s pets need emergency veterinary treatment, Team Member will contact the designated vet on file and/or a local emergency vet. Team Member will also communicate with Client and/or emergency contacts regarding the situation.

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Client releases Hands N Paws from any liability for any damage or harm to pets or property that occurs beyond the reasonable control of Team Member during the provision of emergency veterinary care. 


To comply with local laws and ordinances, it is required that all pets have the appropriate vaccinations and licenses before Company begins services. For further information on these requirements, please visit the Ohio State Bar Association’s website at https://www.ohiobar.org/public-resources. Client should also check with his/her veterinarian to determine which vaccinations/shots the pet requires. 

For safety reasons, we encourage all dogs and cats to wear an ID tag or collar that includes name and contact number while Team Member is working with them.


To ensure access to Client’s home during scheduled services, Hands N Paws requires that Client purchases a lockbox and places a spare house key(s) inside of it for Team Member to use. Client can purchase the lockbox on Hands N Paws’ website by clicking Buy Your Lockbox. Once it arrives, the lockbox should be programmed with a unique four-digit code. The lockbox should then be placed on the main door handle or in another secure location, and the lockbox code and location information must be entered in the Client’s account on Precise Petcare.

Alternatively, Client may elect to provide a code for entry via a garage door or electronic keypad and if so, must enter all necessary codes in Precise Petcare. Client is strongly encouraged to purchase a lockbox, however, to ensure that Team Member can access pets at all times during scheduled services, especially in situations where the power goes out or batteries die and Team Member need alternative access to the home.


All Team Members have access to Clients phone number, but are instructed to only use them when necessary or for urgent purposes during services with pets. Hands N Paws prioritizes the privacy and confidentiality of phone numbers as personal information.

All correspondence between Client and Team Member should be centered around Client’s pets and the services provided. If Client has inquiries regarding scheduling, cancellations, app-related matters, or any company-related concerns, these are to be directed to the Company via the office number: (614) 636-6644. The Company’s client support team is available during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. We are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays. The Company will make contact with Client outside of office hours should there be any urgent need for communication.


In order to provide the best possible service to pets, it is crucial that Client provides Team Member with detailed and up-to-date information regarding their pets. This information should be accurate, complete, and accessible through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Team Members can only work on the basis of the information that is available to them through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Likewise, Client acknowledges that the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information they provide directly impacts the quality of the services delivered. Client, therefore, takes full responsibility for any consequences that arise from inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated account information.


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While Team Members understands that Client may have preferences regarding arrival times, it is essential to acknowledge that Team Members cannot guarantee meeting those specific requests. Flexibility is needed in order for Team Members to accommodate for needs of other Clients on schedule.


For the most up-to-date and detailed descriptions on service offerings, please visit our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com.


The following service surcharges may apply under certain conditions:

Last Minute Service: A fee of $15 per service will be charged for bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Holiday Service: A fee of $20 per service will be applied for services provided on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.

Additional Pets: Base pricing for services includes up to 2 pets. For each additional pet beyond the initial two, an additional fee of $7 per pet will be added.

*Additional fees may apply, as discussed/negotiated between Company and Client. 


Hands N Paws strives to accommodate as many service requests as possible. However, the approval of service requests is subject to the availability of Team Members. Upon submitting a service request, Client will receive a confirmation or declination email/notification indicating whether Hands N Paws can fulfill the requested work. Sometimes, this may take up to 48 hours or more.

If a service request is declined, we encourage Client to explore alternative options or contact our dedicated client support team for further assistance. Company is here to help and find the best solution for all pet care needs.


To ensure a personalized experience for new Clients, Hands N Paws requires a virtual or in-person Meet N Greet before getting started with pet services. These meetings allow us to connect with and onboard Clients and discuss their pet care needs.

All virtual Meet N Greets are free of charge. All in-person Meet N Greets come at a $50 cost. Meet N Greets are no more than 30 minutes in length.

New Clients can book their Meet N Greet on our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com. Existing Clients can book their Meet N Greet in their designated client account in Precise Petcare.


Payment Method: All services with Hands N Paws are to be paid for using a credit or debit card. All major cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover are acceptable. Client can securely add and store card information within their Client account. Adding and keeping a valid credit card on file is a requirement for requesting any services with Hands N Paws.

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Additional Fees: Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or determine the need to, purchase items for the pet(s) while under the care of Hands N Paws. These items may include pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet, or emergency expenses for the general care of the pet(s). Hands N Paws and/or Team Member will consult with Client before making any purchases, and will retain and share any receipts as proof of purchase.


When Client schedules services with Hands N Paws, the Company has likely turned down other work so as to devote our time to the work requested from said Client.

Client understands and accepts the Company cancellation/refund policy as outlined below:

– 100% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– 50% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– NO refund is issued for same-day cancellations/less than 24 hour notice.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are NOT transferable. Should Client be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to his/her account and applied to the very next invoice with us.


Hands N Paws agrees to provide the services stated in this contract in a reliable, caring, and trustworthy manner. In consideration of these services and as an express condition thereof, Client expressly waives and relinquishes any and all claims against Hands N Paws arising out of or relating to the provision of services hereunder, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that the environment in which they are requesting Hands N Paws to complete services is reasonably sanitary and safe. If it is determined that home conditions are unsanitary and/or unsafe at any point in the working relationship, Company will make it known to Client. Action will be taken accordingly thereafter.

Additionally, Hands N Paws will not terminate during a period of scheduled service unless Hands N Paws determines, at their sole discretion, that a serious danger exists to the health or safety of Team Members or pets. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pets, Client agrees to pay for their pet to be boarded at a boarding facility or taken under the care of another party until Client returns. All attempts will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home during the duration of services booked. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by any third-parties entering Client’s home at that time.


This contract will take effect upon digital signature by Client (clicking “Agree & Submit” below) and will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Client may make online reservations for additional services at any time during the terms of this contract, as subject to Hands N Paws availability. All scheduled services will be governed by all the terms of this contract.

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