4 Tips For Winter Dog Walking In Columbus, OH

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! 

Benny DiFranco

Benny DiFranco

Hi! Thanks for reading this blog. I am the owner and founder of Columbus, Ohio's very own Hands N Paws. I started this business in 2018 with the purpose of giving more pet parents peace of mind. Looking forward to seeing you on the blog next time!

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



Should any of Client’s pets require emergency veterinary treatment, Hands N Paws will treat pets first and foremost, then make all reasonable efforts to contact Client and/or emergency contacts provided. Regardless, the Team Member on-site holds the right to take appropriate action to help all pets, including obtaining veterinary care. Client authorizes Hands N Paws to transport pet(s) to and from a veterinary clinic for treatment and/or to request “on-site” treatment if deemed necessary. Client authorizes Hands N Paws to make treatment decisions on their behalf (with the information available) for any treatment excluding euthanasia, especially if Client is not reachable and/or it’s a life-threatening emergency that calls for immediate action. Client agrees to pay any and all veterinary fees that result from this action.
Client also agrees to release Hands N Paws from any and all liability that may arise as a result of damage to property and/or injury to/death of pets that occurs outside of the Team Member’s control.
Client will also be held responsible for injury and/or damage caused to Team Member(s) as a result of previously undisclosed aggression in any of Client’s pets.



All pets are to be vaccinated and licensed as required by local laws and ordinances. Please visit the Ohio State Bar Association’s website for more details on these items by going to https://www.ohiobar.org/public-resources.
Please also check with your veterinarian for details on what vaccinations/shots your pet is required to have.
In the interest of safety, all dogs and cats are encouraged to have an ID tag or collar that states their name and a contact number while a Hands N Paws Team Member is working with them.



All Team Members will need guaranteed access to Clients’ homes during scheduled services. Client agrees to purchase a lockbox and place spare house key(s) inside the box for Team Members to use for accessing the home.
Please visit our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com and click Buy Your Lockbox to locate the proper lockbox for purchase.
Once received, lockboxes are to be programmed with a unique four-digit code and placed on a main door handle to Client’s home (or other secure place). Client is then required to enter their lockbox code and location information in his/her client account by logging in to Precise Petcare and going to Petcare > My Info > Home Access.
Client may also elect to provide a code for entry via garage door or electronic keypad. In this case, Client is responsible for entering all necessary codes in Precise Petcare.
Regardless, a lockbox is strongly encouraged to be purchased so as to avoid situations where power might go out, batteries to keypads die, and/or keys hidden under outside objects are not found, etc. Lockboxes guarantee that Team Members are able to access pets at all times during scheduled services.



It is strongly discouraged that Team Members and Clients exchange phone numbers with each other in working together. Phone numbers are personal and Team Members have specific work hours.
Clients should direct all communications with Team Members in our app, Precise Petcare. Both parties can communicate via submitted journal reports, which Team Members send after completion of all services with pets. More information on this can be found by visiting our client support page at www.myhandsnpaws.com/client-support.
For any pressing/non-emergency communications, Clients are advised to call our office number at (614) 636-6644. Office hours are Monday through Friday 9am-5pm. We are closed on Saturdays, Sunday, and Federal Holidays.
PLEASE NOTE: Office hours differ from fieldwork hours. Office hours are the times in which we provide client support via answering phones, emails, etc. Fieldwork hours are the times in which we offer services/are working in the field with pets. Our fieldwork hours are 7am-10pm (and overnights), 365 days a year.



Clients are NOT allowed to request that Team Members “ignore the cat” when providing care for other animals in households that have multiple pets. Regardless of the cat’s disposition, personality, or levels of need, Hands N Paws Team Members must provide some kind of attention and care to the cat during scheduled services. Similarly, Client must create a pet profile for the cat(s) and provide care notes accordingly.


Our Team Members can only perform services correctly if they are equipped with the correct (and most up to date) pet care information. You will only be allowed to request services on the basis that pet and personal profiles are updated every 6 months (at minimum). Any Client who attempts to request services at the 6 month mark will receive an error message letting them know that they cannot submit a request if they haven’t made updates to their profiles. If there is nothing to update at the 6 month mark, simply reword a current piece of information and click Save at the bottom of the page.


Client acknowledges that arrival times for services occur within a two-hour period. It is NOT possible for Team Members to arrive at exact times. This is why time frames appear, rather than exact times, in the dropdown menu when selecting a time for the service(s).
Client agrees to requesting services in the two-hour time frames offered.



For detailed descriptions on our services, please visit our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com.

Dog Walking
*Rates below apply for up to 2 dogs; add $7 per additional dog
QUICK WALK – 20 mins – $22
STANDARD WALK – 30 mins – $25
LONG WALK – 45 mins – $35

Pet Sitting
*Rates below apply for up to 2 pets; add $7 per additional pet
QUICK VISIT – 20 mins – $22
STANDARD VISIT – 30 mins – $25
LONG VISIT – 45 mins – $35

Cat Sitting
*Rates below apply for up to 2 cats; add $7 per additional cat
QUICK VISIT – 20 mins – $22
STANDARD VISIT – 30 mins – $25
LONG VISIT – 45 mins – $35
Overnight Stay (8-10 hrs) – $80

*Rate applies for up to 2 pets; add $10 per additional pet.




A $20 surcharge is added to each service that is scheduled on the following Federal Holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.



Upon submitting service request(s), Client will be informed as to whether Hands N Paws can take on the requested work via a confirmation or declination email/notification. Client understands that there is NO guarantee that any/all service requests can be approved; it simply just depends on Team Member availability. Clients are encouraged to submit all service requests as far in advance as possible!



Client understands and accepts the Company same day service request policy as outlined below:
– A $10 convenience fee is added to each service if requested (and approved) with 24 hours or less notice before service(s) is scheduled to occur.
– A $20 convenience fee is added to each service if requested (and approved) with 12 hours or less notice before service(s) is scheduled to occur.
– A $30 convenience fee is added to each service if requested (and approved) with 6 hours or less notice before service(s) is scheduled to occur.



Client understands and accepts the Company out-of-service-area request policy as outlined below:
– A $10 (minimum) convenience fee is added to each service if requested outside of our current service area.
Please note, this amount is subject to increase depending on how far a client lives outside of our current service area.




Client understands and accepts the Company service change request policy as it applies to time frames as outlined below:

If Client submits a service change request, there may be a same-day applicable fee should the change be approved. Technically, changing a service time frame equates to cancelling one service and requesting a brand new one. With that, Hands N Paws assesses the change as it relates to our same-day policy detailed above.

If the change is requested (and approved) with 24 hours or less notice before service is newly scheduled to occur, the original service is canceled (same-day) and there is a $10 convenience fee added onto the “new service” base rate.

If the change is requested (and approved) with 12 hours or less notice before service is newly scheduled to occur, the original service is canceled (same-day) and there is a $20 convenience fee added onto the “new service” base rate.

If the change is requested (and approved) with 6 hours or less notice before service is newly scheduled to occur, the original service is canceled (same-day) and there is a $30 convenience fee added onto the “new service” base rate.




All meet n greets are FREE (and required as part of proper client onboarding) for first-time Clients. To the extent that Clients wish to schedule additional meet n greets, after their first free one, they will be charged $50 per meet n greet.

To schedule a first-time meet n greet (for new clients), please go to www.myhandsnpaws.com and click Get Started.

To schedule additional meet n greets (for current clients), please log in to your client account, go to My Schedule > Request Service and select Meet N Greet in the service dropdown.



All services are to be paid for via credit/debit card. We accept all major cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover). Card information can be added securely to each client account.

For services scheduled as ongoing, you will be auto-charged every Friday evening for the previous 7 days worth of work on schedule, including completed, canceled, and in-progress services.

For services NOT scheduled as ongoing, the day your services are accepted and confirmed is the day you will be charged 50% of your invoice total (as downpayment). Your invoice will be sent to you immediately. You have from then until the date of the last confirmed service to pay your invoice manually. If you choose to not pay manually, your remaining total will be auto-paid (via card on file) on the evening of the last service day.

If any auto-charges are declined, you will be notified immediately. In the first declined attempt, we give you a 24-hour grace period to correct the issue. In the second declined attempt, a late fee of 10% of the invoice total ($10 minimum) will be added. Please look out for emails regarding overdue notices.

Credit cards are required to be added to and remain on file in order for Clients to request any services with Hands N Paws.

Hands N Paws will be paid the amount discussed with no exceptions other than if our Cancellation Policy (outlined below) applies and Client receives a refund in either the form of Account Credit(s), or in emergency circumstances as transferable credit(s) back to their card.

Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or sees the need to, purchase items for the pet while under Company care, including but not limited to: pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet and/or emergency expenses for general care of pet(s). Hands N Paws will retain and share 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 you be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to your account and applied to your 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. We assess home conditions during initial meet n greets. If we determine home conditions to be unsanitary and/or unsafe, we will make it clear to the Client that we cannot pursue a working relationship.

Should a Team Member sustain any injury, disease, or other harm in the course of providing services hereunder, the Client will indemnify Hands N Paws and hold it harmless with respect to all loss, expense, and damage caused thereby, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home and agrees to not contract with any other company and/or care provider during the duration of services booked with Hands N Paws. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by anyone entering the Client’s home with their permission or access given to others during the terms of services rendered.




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. We appreciate as much advance notice as possible for the work, but will make every effort possible to accommodate all requests.

Either party may terminate this contract at any time by written notice to the other. Hands N Paws is entitled to payment for all services rendered until notice of termination is received and for any transition services reasonably required to provide for the health and welfare of Client’s pet(s). 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 a Team Member or pet. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pet(s), 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. Every attempt will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client acknowledges that by signing below, he/she is providing written approval for the provision of services by Hands N Paws during any service period scheduled by Client and confirmed by Hands N Paws. Upon such scheduling and approval, Hands N Paws will be authorized to enter Client premises and perform services without additional signed contracts and/or written authorizations




I, Client, have reviewed this Client Agreement in its entirety. I will promptly complete all parts of my client account in Precise Petcare, and the information I provide will be detailed and accurate. My electronic signature here will indicate that I am agreeing to all the terms and conditions of this contract, exactly as they are outlined above.