Brrrrr! Dog Tips for Winter

February 25, 2013
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Winter can be a lot of fun for your dog and you but it can also be stressful on their bodies. Some dogs love the cold and playing in snow while others shiver and can’t stand to go outside. As the temperatures drop and snow storms, freezing rain, and icy sidewalks start to appear, there are several tips we need to keep in mind to make sure our dogs are safe and comfortable for winter.

8 Tips For Winter

  1. Is your dog warm enough?

    Some dogs like huskies are better suited for winter than warm climate dogs like pugs. Short-coated and dogs with a single coat of fur will not stay as warm during the winter as their double-coated relatives. It is important to think about investing in a doggie sweater for your pup and shorter trips outside. Your dog’s age is also a factor as older dogs can’t manage cold weather as well as a younger dog.

  2. Is your dog dry?

    When coming back inside thoroughly wipe your dog’s feet, legs, and abdomen. De-icers like anti-freeze and salt can burn your dog’s skin. Ice stuck to the paws lowers their body temperature. If the paw pads are dried and calloused, ice and cold weather can crack the skin and cause discomfort and bleeding.

  3. Does your dog run errands with you?

    A car can lose its heat in a matter of minutes and become an ice box. Your dog could become severely cold or worse if left in the car. While your dog may love going for drives and running around town with you, during very cold and hot weather, leaving them in the car isn’t safe. Leave them home and let them curl up for a nap on your couch.

  4. Did your dog really just knock over that snowman?

    If your dog is a cold weather dog and loves playing outside, up the quantity of food, particularly protein. Some silly dogs try to catch snow flakes and others love borrowing under the snow, making little trails, and bounding around. They burn more energy during winter, compensating with more food or better quality is important to their well-being.

  5. “I don’t want to come in yet!”

    If your dog spends a lot of time in the yard, make sure there is adequate shelter for him when he’s tired or needs a break but doesn’t want to come inside just yet. This doesn’t mean your dog should live outside. The nights during winter can be extremely harsh. If your dog does love the winter weather and doesn’t want to come in after doing his “business” provide some shelter. This means a good dog house that is made from wood or heavy plastic that will block wind and has a flap over the doorway. Keep the bedding inside the shelter dry and clean. Wet bedding won’t hold any heat and can freeze.

  6. Shave and a haircut are still necessary.

    Groom your dog regularly during the winter. A dirty, matted coat won’t hold warmth. If your dog has long fur check for ice, debris, and matting. Trim the fur between the toes to cut down on ice sticking to the paws. If you have your dog’s fur trimmed and shaved, ask your groomer to leave it a little longer for winter and consider using a dog coat.

  7. Winter hours are in effect.

    Play time with your pet may have to change to a time of day when the sun is out to make sure everyone is a bit warmer. Night time and early mornings are always colder than the afternoon. If your dog is an active dog, consider midday walks and romps in the dog park. If you work, why not check out if there’s a nearby dog daycare. Your dog can run around with some friends, burn some energy, and be safe, warm, and dry. Plus, come on, morning walks are never fun for us (especially on rainy or cold days).

  8. Is it drafty in here?

    Make sure their bedding is away from drafts in the house. Keep the bedding dry and clean and do not let your dog lay on it if he’s wet. If your dog is older, heated pet beds may help the old bones and cut down on any discomfort that winter brings on.

Winter can be great for your dog but it can also be tough on them. Think about what will help your dog have a warm winter and if you’re unsure what is best for your pup, talk to your vet.

For more tips to make sure your pet is ready for cold winter weather, check out all of these PetsWelcome articles:

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