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Protect your pet in the BC rain and snow

Here in BC and the wet coast, you can always expect a lot of winter rain and occasional snow. As the cold and wet chases most British Columbians indoors (except for dog-walkers and devoted joggers), our soggy streets, yards and parks not only make for a lot of soaking wet paws, but also limited driving visibility.

If you’re facing months of dog walking in downpours, you’ll want to be extra careful on those dark winter days and evenings. Here are six helpful tips for walking your pooch in the BC rain and snow.

1. Wear bright, reflective colours

Winter nights feel even darker in the pouring rain or blinding snow, making it harder to see and be seen. If your rain jacket looks dark indoors, imagine how dark it’ll look outside on a dim winter night.

Driver visibility is always lower in the rain and snow, and humans are more likely to be spotted before their dogs. Wear a reflective vest or reflective gear with colours that stand out in the darkness. You can also get a reflective or bright vest for your dog and a bright LED dog collar to make them visible, safe, and seen.


Walking a dog with a rain coat

2. Check the forecast

It’s never a bad idea to know what you’re getting into when you go outside. Is there a severe storm coming your way? Thunderstorms often frighten dogs. Your dog's age and size are factors, too. Older dogs and small puppies often find it harder to get through puddles and navigate slippery hills. 

As for rain alone, it depends on how heavy the downpour. If the rainfall is so heavy you can’t see beyond your yard (and your pet really, really doesn’t want to go outside), you can wait things out or let your pooch lift a leg on the nearest bush.

Check the skies before you pull on your coats. For easy access, download Environment Canada's weather app called WeatherCAN.

3. Get rain gear for you and your pooch

Doggo boots and raincoats might seem a little silly at first glance, as if you’re dressing up your dog for Halloween. You can put that feeling to rest because pet rain gear is a great West Coast investment. Nice-fitting raincoats and boots keep your furry friend dry and comfortable on the coldest rainy evenings. They might also save you the hassle of towelling off your dog after your walk. Dog raincoats and boots cut down the smell of soaking wet dog fur, plus they mean less muddy floors and carpets.

Just as you want to choose the right raincoat for yourself, be sure to choose a size of raincoat that’s meant for your dog’s breed to ensure it's not too tight. And if your pooch will wear dog boots (which is never a guarantee), get boots that are snug but not too tight on their paws, and have rubberized, non-slip bottoms.

4. Don’t drink water off the ground

Let’s face it, dogs eat and drink pretty much anything. And yet as tasty as that slush puddle surely looks, never let your dog drink off the ground. Slush and rainwater are full of dirt and bacteria and, especially in urban areas, may contain harmful chemicals from road salt or de-icers. 

To quench your pet’s thirst, bring a water bottle and a portable dog bowl, just as you would for summer walks.  

Dog drinks from portable pet water bottle while in backseat of car in winter.

5. Keep it short

When winter turns brutal, it’s probably best to turn your long walk into a short stroll. Less time out in the pounding rain or a whiteout snowstorm means less risks, hassles and shivering for you both.

If it’s raining around the clock (like it loves to do in January), and you’re concerned with your dog being stuck inside all day, ditch the long walk and take them on a series of short walks instead. Give yourself plenty of time to dry off in between sessions.

Walking a dog in the snow

6. Paws for protection

Get pet insurance to protect your furry friend from the paws up. If you’re a BCAA Member, you’ll save 13.5% on BCAA Pet Insurance provided by Pets Plus Us.* 

Learn more about BCAA’s pet insurance partner Pets Plus Us and get an online quote in less than five minutes. 

* BCAA Members receive a preferred rate of 13.5% off. Non-members receive a preferred rate of 9% off
All pet insurance plans have limitations and exclusions. Specific products, features, rates, and discounts may vary by province and territory, eligibility, and are subject to change. Medical Conditions that are noted, symptomatic or diagnosed prior to enrollment, or during a waiting period are pre-existing to Coverage and not eligible for reimbursement. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. This advertisement is an outline only; policy terms and conditions 'User Guide' will prevail. For all terms and conditions visit:
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