With blizzard predictions for this weekend, you may be sharpening your negotiating tactics to get pup out or you may be grinning about all the fun awaiting you and pup.
Fortunately, most Barkers and friends that we know are in that latter category.
With a few easy safety precautions pup should be in for the time of his life.
Paws: Paw care is our first line of defense. In litigous New York City, landlords as well as the city tend to over salt sidewalks and streets for human safety. But we don't walk barefoot so we are fine. Our pups do and the salt dries and cracks their paw pads. Not pleasant.
Either put booties on pup (most dogs hate them, plus they often fall off during the walk) or rub Musher's Secret on the bottom of their paws. Mushers, as the name implies, was developed for sled dogs whose paws really take a beating in the snow.
Musher's is perfectly safe if your pup wants to lick it off but is does pick up "detritis" from the sidewalks - salt crystals, pebbles and general dirt. We strongly suggest wiping it off as soon as you return from your walk so he doesn't lick anything he shouldn't ingest or track it on your floors. If you don't have Musher's handy you can substitute vaseline.
Equally important if pup is running through the snow is to periodically check the bottoms of his paws. Snow often works up between the toes, melts and then refreezes. Icicles between your toes? Not pleasant! Make sure to keep those doggie tootsies clear. If pup has a lot of hair growing between his toes, spaniel style, keep it trimmed short.
Body: puppies, older dogs, brachycephalic and medically compromised dogs generally need a coat or sweater in our winter weather. But if they are running around like crazy, they may overheat. The best way to check periodically is to feel pup's ears. If they are quite warm, you may want to take off his coat for a while. Dogs can overheat, too.
Now that you are ready, get out there and have fun! Here are the five best dog-friendly Brooklyn parks with the best hills for doggie sledding and play:
Ft. Greene Park, Ft. Greene - Myrtle Ave & Dekalb between Washington Park and St. Edwards St. (11205, 11201)
Hillside Park, Columbia Hts. - Hicks St between Middagh & Vine. (11201)
Prospect Park, Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace - Prospect Pk W, Parkside Ave., Flatbush, Ocean Aves, Prospect Park SW (11215)
Lincoln Terrace Park, Crown Heights - Eastern Pkwy., E New York Ave. bet Rochester Ave. & Portal St. (11213, 11233)
Sunset Park in Sunset Park - 41 St., 44 St., bet, 5 Ave. and 7 Ave. (11232)