This winter, make sure your pup is prepared for the inclement conditions, whether going outside to play or just for a short walk.
It’s good to keep in mind that different dogs have different needs, but these 12 cold weather tips will help keep any dog safe this winter.
1. A coat, duh.
Unless your dog has a natural winter coat, like a Husky or Newfie, wrap that pup up! Find a coat designed to keep them warm and not limit mobility.
2. Keep their ears dry.
You don’t have to get them ear muffs, but if your pooch plays in the snow, make sure to dry their ears when they come in to prevent painful ear infections.
3. Thicker bedding in the home.
A slight draft that might not bother you could put smaller or thin-coated dogs at risk. Give them the option of burrowing into some soft, cozy blankies.
4. Proper paw care.
If your dog refuses to wear booties, then make sure you trim the hair on the paws. Hair gets wet in the snow and freezes, or the hair remains cold and wet back indoors. Keep it short and clean. But not TOO short.
5. Proper paw care. (CITY PUPS)
City dogs might require a balm to treat the effects from salted sidewalks. Vaseline works, but don’t let them lick it! At the very least, dogs exposed to a lot of salt should have their paws cleaned regularly to prevent chronic dryness.
6. Avoid salt and de-icers when possible.
Not only is salt bad for dog paws, but could also be toxic to their system if ingested. The same goes for chemical de-icers that are used to thaw sidewalks or car windshields. Be aware of treated areas and keep your pup away.
7. Hydrate your dog.
If your dog is wearing extra layers for the winter, then they need to drink extra water. If not, good hydration is still important for your dog’s ability to regulate its own body temperature. And use a plastic bowl outside. Metal bowls freeze and pose hazards to your dog’s tongue.
8. Brush your dog.
Brushing out old fur will allow a fuller coat to grow in. Clumpy, matted fur doesn’t insulate as well as a clean coat, and it takes longer to dry.
9. Limit time spent outdoors.
Your pup might get carried away making snow angels, so it’s up to you, not them, to decide when they need to come inside and warm the pup up. This will prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
10. Extra treats.
That’s right. Your dog will be using more calories to stay warm, especially if playing outside. So go ahead and toss ’em some extra goodies to keep up their energy levels. You can both go on a diet after the New Year.
11. A hot spot.
For dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, they should have a warm refuge. Insulate their dog house, or buy them a dog house built for the cold.
12. Learn about your breed.
Some dogs require more care than others during the winter depending on their breed. Find out your dog’s specific needs.
If you would like more information about winter care for your dogs, you can bone up at the websites for the ASPCA, the American Kennel Club, or DogChat.
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