Throughout the winter season, many dogs feel the bitter cold as much as their owners do. It is important for us to help the animals stay warm and safe as the bitter months approach us.
Here’s some great ways to keep your dog warm and safe this winter
1. Make sure your dog is well groomed.
A good groom is essential whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall. Keeping your dog clean and well groomed will help them avoid the pitfalls of winter.
For example you want to avoid trimming, shaving, or cutting your dog’s hair because their fur coat is their main source of warmth in the winter. It may look cute to shave your poodle but you’d better get them a doggie coat lest they will be cold and in danger in the winter snow.
Make sure to comb out knots on longer hair dogs in order to get rid of matting, which can lead to less efficient insulation of the dog. Additionally, keep the hair around paw pads well trimmed. This will help prevent ice and snow from clumping between foot pads.
2. Keep winter toxins locked away.
We hope this one is redundant and that everyone knows it already but anti-freeze has a sweet taste to dogs, and they will lick it if it becomes available to them.
Even a little bit, a few teaspoons of this lethal toxin, can end up killing them so if you’re mixing up a batch to top off your radiator, make sure you keep your pup locked inside lest they get into the sweet smelling liquid and end up at the emergency veterinarian.
3. Check for frostbite.
When it’s winter you bundle up but you’d be surprised as to the number of people that don’t bundle their dog up to help them prevent against frostbite. Remember your dog cannot tell you when they are getting cold and if you’re not careful, it could become a serious situation.
Check their ear tips and tail tips for a white, red, or grey color, as well as if they are cold, hard, and dry. If so, wrap extremities in blankets to gradually warm them, and go to the vet as soon as possible.
4. Provide shelter for outdoor dogs.
This should go without saying. Your dog should not be confined outside. Sadly too many dogs are chained never to know the warmth of a loving home.
If you’re going to let your dog hang outside to get some fresh air, please still make sure the dog has access to insulated shelter and warm bedding so that they can get shelter from the cold.
5. Use dog clothing in certain situations.
Dog clothing is a good option for small dogs, old dogs, or dogs without long hair. If you see your dog shivering, chances are it’s a good time to wrap them in a sweater.
There’s a number of great products out there on Amazon or Chewy that can help your pet to stay warm. Remember if it’s too cold for you to go without a coat for 30 mins, then it’s too cold for your dog.
Just because they have fur doesn’t mean they have enough insulation for the cold winter temperatures. Help them stay warm!
6. Use booties to protect paws on snow and salt.
You might laugh but a good set of dog boots is essential when you’re taking your dog for a walk during the winter. Road salt can make your pup sick because they’ll want to lick their paws clean once you get them back home.
Their paws can get irritated from the chemicals found in road salt, as well as irritated from balled up ice that didn’t melt in between the paw pads. But if you use a good set of dog boots you’ll protect them and keep them safe.
Sure, they may act like they can’t walk in boots but once you open the door trust us…they’ll figure it out.
7. Clear snow and ice to help small dogs eliminate outside.
If your dog is anything like ours, despite shoveling out a huge spot on the yard, snow blowing sections for them to use, they’ll still go bounding into the snow only to give you that look of bewilderment when their butt is sticking into the snow.
Particularly for smaller dogs, an inch or two of snow is all it takes for them to be stuck in freezing water so be sure to shovel out a place for them.
8. Keep dogs on a leash around bodies of water.
Most people know that dogs instinctively can swim. But if they fall through the ice into near freezing water, just like you they’ll only have a few minutes before they’ll be completely drained and exhausted and slip below the surface.
Pets that run free may accidentally find themselves in dangerous situations and fall into ponds or lakes. They can also become disoriented in a snowy environment and get lost without the sight of familiar landmarks.
So be careful particularly as the dead of winter turns to spring. Keep your pet on a leash until you know the ice is safe.
9. Limit the length of walks in cold temperatures.
Dogs should not spend more than 10-15 minutes out in freezing climates, so take shorter walks if possible. Our rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. Bundle up or keep it short.
Do you have any tips to help the animals in the winter months? Let us know!
For more information about making sure your dog will have a perfectly groomed coat for the winter, check out http://earthbath.com/dog/the-importance-of-winter-grooming-follow-our-four-tips/.