Click here to visit the most complete Maltese site on the WWW

Archived Message

Cold Weather & exercise

by KarenM

Hi! This is really a two parter. My Jazz is four months old and I have started taking her for walks. My questions are:

1. How do you go about building them up for long walks or is that even necessary. She seems to be able to keep up with me for 30 minutes but we don't walk really fast yet. I would like to take her for longer walks...suggestions?
2. This may seem to be a pretty silly question....but...not having owned a dog before, I am wondering about my walks on cold evenings. Will she become used to the cold as she builds up...evenings now are around 18 C (maybe 60 F) but will get eventually to -17 C (maybe 0 or below F). What precautions do I take?

Thanks for your input.


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

You should take a good look at your Maltese and see if it would benefit from regular exercise. The number one reason dogs should exercise is to maintain their weight. Some are overfed and tend to get a little heavy; regular exercise can help control that. Exercise improves muscle tone, so it's good for show dogs. It also builds endurance and can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Exercise can keep a dog happy. If you start a regular schedule, then your Maltese will start anticipating when you're going to take them for a walk or a jog.

As a rule of thumb, with a Maltese, wait until he's 8 months old to start a regular jogging or high-level walking program.

While your Maltese is young, let him exercise in the yard, chase rabbits and birds, free play. You have to give their bones a chance to develop. But it's important to take precautions. Just as a human shouldn't start an exercise program without seeing their physician, your Maltese should be checked out by a veterinarian before beginning a regular exercise program. You want to be sure your dog is healthy and free of parasites.

Don't start your Maltese off with a three mile run or power walk, work up to that distance. If it's a hot day, try to exercise during the cooler parts of the morning or evening. Try to walk in the shade and be sure plenty of water is available to drink. Check the heat of the sidewalk. If it's too hot for you to go barefoot, it's too hot for your Maltese to walk on it. You want a good, obedient dog to exercise with. In the winter, good common sense should really determine when its too cold or windy. Remember that your Maltese does not have an undercoat like most other breeds.

Karen, this might be a "silly way" to determine whether it is too cold for your kiddo, but it's what I do. Since Maltese have hair like people do, I figure that when my head is cold and I need a hat to stay warm, Lucy will be cold too, and she gets a coat or sweater to wear even for a short jaunt. If your baby is anything like mine, you will find that they are good at weather. When it rains or is cold, both Lucy and Carty get their outside work done in a hurry and want to head home. On beautiful days they want to play and sniff. (Haven't had Carty for winter yet, so only have Luce to go by.) One thing too that you should watch is for cold feet. When the ground is really cold in the winter--on the very coldest days when the ground has been frozen for a while and the temp is quite low--Lucy will sit down and not walk and needs to be picked up and carried (I usually rub her feet to warm them up, assuming that this helps without really knowing.)
-cathy brown

Hi, Karen,Touquet gets a walk every day (weather permitting). I have been taking him for walks since he was about 16 weeks old. When he was a puppy, I kept an eye on his energy level, and carried him if he started getting tired. Now he is 2 years old, and we usually walk approximately one hour. We both enjoy this! If I am too slow, Touquet runs around on his Flexi-lead chasing squirrels (his favourite activity), etc. Touquet only seems to get tired when the weather is hot. Touquet has a Polartec jacket (sleeves on all four legs) and terrific neo-prene boots for the very cold weather. I start to dress him when the mercury hits about 5 C. He does just fine to about -20 C. When it is colder than that, we both stay in!!! I think you'll be fine if you watch your little one and use your judgement. Touquet LOVES to play in the snow!
-Barbara and Touquet

I had an interesting experience with KoKo last year. We were in Arizona and she would not go out without her Cool Paws. I bought them just before we went to Arizona as I know how hot the cement gets in Florida and I assumed Arizona was worse. I was right. She did great with the Cool Paws. KoKo and Shayna saw snow for the first time this summer in Canada. They walked on it and looked at us as if to say, "Thank God we live in Florida". They both have coats, sweathers, rain coats, sweatshirts, night shirts for sleeping in the winter and boots. They do not like it too hot or too cold, so our exercise is limited to afternoons in winter and early mornings and evenings in summer. I agree with using your own judgement, remember when the kids were little and we told them, "I'm cold, put your jacket on". Only difference, the dogs will obey.

Thanks for your suggestions. I will go to the local pet store and see about some winter wear. She's becoming as expensive as my teen boys. Well, the 19 yr old thinks so...he's always complaining that Jazz has more toys than he ever had (NOT!!!) :-)KarenM

Copyright 1996, 1997© Maltese Only All rights reserved