Bags all packed for your next ski trip? Dog sitting on your lap giving you the big old puppy eyes? We’ve been there – it’s never easy leaving your dog home alone during the cold winter months. And the good news: planning a winter holiday with dog in tow is actually easier and more fun than it might seem!

So here’s a deep dive into keeping your dog safe in the cold, what local laws to check out where you’re vacationing – and how to keep your dog safe if they wander off into the snowy wilderness. Let’s plan ourselves a dog-friendly winter holiday!

Winter holiday with dog in tow: The essentials

Winter holidays might seem like a chance to kick back and relax – but your buddy’s safety should still be priority #1. Here are a couple of essential steps to cover.

Vaccinations & medications

  • Shots. Make sure your dog’s shots are up-to-date to combat any pesky winter viruses.
  • Meds. Don’t forget to pack their medication along and keep it at hand, if necessary. If you’re taking your dog along with you on a ski trip or winter getaway, make sure to carry all their paperwork, in case you need a vet.
  • Dog first aid kit. Which is essentially a regular first aid kit, but just containing your dog’s medical info and any other documents a vet might find useful.
  • Keep an emergency/vet phone number saved.
A Pomeranian dog getting checked at the vet clinic

Besides medication, stay informed on what foods are off-limits for dogs – as well other harmful substances in your environment. You might think most plants die out in winter, but some varieties of mushrooms continue to grow and thrive even in the cold! And as it turns out, mushrooms can be poisonous for your dog if they take a bite out of them by mistake.

Identifying your dog if they get lost

Got an European adventure planned this winter? You might need to consider microchipping your dog. Most countries around the world (and many US states) legally require pet parents to ensure their dog or cat has a microchip implanted. This is to ensure a vet can scan your lost pet’s microchip, find your contact details, and get in touch with you to let you know they’ve found your buddy.

A pair of vets checking a dog at a clinic

Because, think about it. A dog or cat without a microchip is likely to end up in the local pound or a shelter. Where they might hold them for a week or so – until you come pick them up. If no one’s around to pick your lost pet, it’s possible they might even be euthanized.

So make sure to find a vet or a local animal shelter near you – and get your dog chipped. It’s a painless, 10-minute procedure, relatively affordable, and like a permanent ID tag for your dog. Also, make sure to check the laws in whichever country (or countries) you’re traveling to, to stay on the safe side.

Finding your dog if they get lost

A microchip alone can only help identify your lost dog. It can’t help you actually track down your dog if they run off into the woods or the wilderness. That’s where a dedicated dog GPS tracker can be a lifesaver.

Because sometimes, all it takes is a single open door for your dog to bolt off outdoors.

  • A snow loving dog might run off to discover the biggest snow pile around – maybe too far away from safety.
  • Dogs with high prey drive might chase down a woodland animal deep into the woods. (And end up with some nasty injuries if they run into a moose, deer, or wolf.)
  • Untrained dogs and puppies might not have the necessary training to override their chasing instincts.
  • Some runaway dog breeds tend to bolt off just to burn some extra energyor simply because they’re bored!

⚠️ Snow can actually mess with your dog’s sense of smell. Making it difficult for them to just sniff their way back home.

A dog running away into a snowy forest

So with all the reasons that dogs run away, a dedicated dog GPS tracker can help you:

All this – and more – with your very own Tractive GPS. Besides, the Tractive DOG XL Adventure edition comes with bite-proof fiberglass casing and a 30-day battery life. So you can hike, swim, ski, and run with your dog – while knowing you can find them, no matter where they roam.

Always know where your dog is

Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.

Track Your Dog With Tractive

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Read more: Tractive reviews on Trustpilot

Create a dog-friendly travel plan

You and your family might argue over who gets control over the AUX cable. But don’t forget your dog traveling right there with you. Do your best to create a home-like environment by bringing along:

  • A crate
  • A familiar pillow or blanket
  • Your dog’s favorite treats and toys
  • An extra leash
  • A portable water dish
  • Cleaning supplies

💡Worried about a hyperactive dog? Or just about car travel with your buddy? Dogs tend to have their own musical preferences – but they chill out a bit more when you have reggae or soft rock playing.1 (Great time for that Bob Marley Spotify playlist.)

A dog standing besides a car in a snowy field

Upgrade your dog’s winter wardrobe

Your dog’s paws are especially sensitive to winter and snow. So before you take them out skiing with you, make sure to:

  • Trim their nails and foot hair to prevent chunks of frozen matter from accumulating in their fur.
  • Invest in all-weather booties to protect your pet’s paws from injuries caused by rough terrain.
  • Bring paw wax or cream to protect against de-icing material like salt. (These can be rough on their sensitive foot pads.)
  • Wash your dog’s paws thoroughly once you’re back home.

Read more: How cold is too cold for dogs?

A puppy playing with a ball in the snow

With some planning and prep, you can make your winter holiday a blast for both you and your dog.

Dog-friendly winter getaways

These dog-friendly countries offer you a great opportunity to spend time in the snow with your four-legged friend. So when planning a winter holiday with your dog, consider visiting:

A dog wearing a Tractive GPS tracker standing in a snowy field
  • France: France has some of the best winter resorts in the world and is consistently rated as the most pet-friendly country in all of Europe.
  • Italy: Italians love their furry friends and most of the time, you’ll be able to bring your dog with you into stores, hotels and even restaurant dining areas.
  • Germany: One of the most dog-friendly countries in Europe, where dogs are even protected by law. Germany includes many dog-friendly hotels where you can comfortably stay with your buddy.
  • Switzerland: If you are looking for a winter wonderland, you should bring your pup to the Swiss Alps. The nature is beautiful and the Swiss are fond of four-legged travelers.
  • Norway: Norway has many pet-friendly hotels and plenty of open space, meaning travelers and their dogs can get their daily exercise.
  • Canada: Winter holidays in Canada offer everything from winter sports to Northern Lights viewing. There are many pet-friendly resorts which offer fantastic skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports. From budget lodgings to luxurious resorts, there is a wide variety of pet-friendly accommodations in Canada.

⚠️Many of these countries legally require you to have fully vaccinated and implanted a microchip in your dog. So make sure to check the local laws as they apply to tourists and dog parents.

We’d also like to go out of our way to recommend snowy, splendid Austria. It’s one of the most dog-friendly countries, where you can even bring your pet in most restaurants. Besides, Tractive is actually an Austrian company based in the province of Upper Austria! So come on by and say hello with your furry friend 🐶

Winter activities with dogs

A winter adventure is a great way to spend time with your best friend. Plus, it’s a bonding experience that will get you both in shape. So consider dog-friendly winter activities like:

Wondering how to get your dog to keep up with your winter activities? Here’s how snowboarding with your dog might look:

But before you run off to fit your buddy into their very own pair of ski shoes, here are a couple of prep tips to get you started. After all, in winter, you do need to factor in how the cold weather affects your dog.

Pick a good route & be aware of the trail rules

Nordic centers, national parks, farmland, and backcountry wilderness are all great places to take your dog for a snowshoe-adventure. Just remember to take proper precautions in the wilderness, though.

  • Some areas charge a fee for your four-legged companion, require leashes or offer certain trails only for dogs.
  • If you are planning a route where hunting is allowed, then be ultra-aware of hunting season rules!
  • Keep your dog on a leash as much as possible. Some countries forbid walking dogs off leash, so make sure to check the laws wherever you’re visiting.

Read more: Hiking with dogs

Know your dog’s fitness level and abilities

Not all dog breeds can handle winter and snow like a St. Bernard. If you’re unsure about your dog’s fitness level, you should ask your vet for advice.

  • Fitness. Start out on short excursions to see how your pup handles the route and the weather. Remember that romping through the snow is more physically demanding on your dog than it is on you.
  • Breed. Got a snow-loving dog breed? They’ll take to winter like a fish to water. Besides, active, high-energy dog breeds can keep up with you all day – and some! On the other hand, if you’ve got a brachycephalic dog breed, they might experience difficulties breathing at high altitudes.
  • Age. Senior dogs might not do so well in cold weather. So try and limit their time outdoors and keep them engaged with some indoor games instead. Puppies, on the other hand, can likely bound around all day. But their little paws might get cold from the snow, so make sure to equip them with some warm booties.
A woman and dog exploring a snowy forest

💡Your Tractive device’s built-in motion detector picks up on your dog’s activity as they run and play along with you. Which can help you keep track of how much exercise they’re gettingor if they don’t seem as active as normal. (Indicating they might even be sick.) So you can take action and get them to a vet early on – and prevent a health condition from worsening.

Discover GPS & Health Tracking For Dogs

Your dog must be under your control

Your dog should be well trained before you bring it on a winter trip. Make sure your pup can heel, sit, stay, and come at your verbal command. Because even most dog-friendly establishments, like hotels, cafes, and restaurants will require your dog to have at least their basic obedience training down to pat. (Else it’s going to be you and your buddy out in the freezing cold all day on vacation.)

A woman in a cafe with a brown dog

Even with a well-behaved dog on your side, you should always bring a leash. Even the best-trained dogs can ignore voice commands if they see something interesting.

Bring supplies

Just like you, your dog needs a little fuel during the day to keep the energy level up and finish the trip. Always bring doggie bags, foldable water bowls and treats. If you’re going on a big excursion, a first aid kit and extra supplies in case of unforeseen incidents are a good idea.

A man and a dog sitting in a snowy field in the mountains

💡Worried your dog might run off into an area with poor network? Your Tractive device’s Location History feature records your dog’s locations even if you lose connection for some time.

Tractive’s Location History has even saved the lives of dogs around the world. Like Imogen, a high-energy Borzoi, who bolted her fence and crashed into the ice of a nearby frozen lake. Luckily, her Tractive device alerted her mom – who immediately tracked her down and rescued her from freezing and drowning.

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Never Lose Your Dog Again With Tractive

Have a stress-free ski trip this year – dog & all

Planning a winter holiday comes with its ups and downs – but there’s nothing quite like enjoying a winter holiday with dog in tow. So make sure to pack your dog’s meds, essential “home” items, and head to a dog-friendly winter getaway this year.

Besides that, make sure to:

  • Check the local laws where you’re off traveling to. Some countries (and US states) require all dogs to be fully vaccinated, microchipped, and on a leash at all times.
  • Pick winter activities that fit your dog. Factors like your buddy’s age, activity level, and breed all play a role in how well they’ll respond to winter sports.
  • Figure out how you’ll find your dog in case they get lost. Which makes a dedicated dog GPS tracker a lifesaver in some situations.

With a GPS tracker on your dog’s collar, you can track your dog with just a glance at your phone – no matter how far they’re off roaming. Aka, your second best friend when your adventure-seeking dog decides to check out the ski slopes in a far-off area.

So plan your trip to winter wonderland with ease – and enjoy the slopes and hiking trails responsibly. And if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next adventure, here’s the Tractive DOG XL Adventure edition in action – perfect for getting you pumped!

Got a friend on the fence whether their dog should come along hiking or skiing? Share this article with them – and let’s make the world a better, safer place for our furry friends.