Winter has settled into many areas of the country and if you’re in a deep freeze, you need to find ways to give your dog time out-of-doors (to at least do his business) while keeping him safe from the bitter cold, snow and other potential dangers.
There are dog breeds who thrive in the cold weather – Huskies, Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dog, among others. There are the smaller breeds and breeds that have short fur who simply aren’t as tolerant – Poodle, Chihuahua, Bulldog, among others.
Even pet parents who have the dogs who can tolerate, in fact who love cold and snow need to be aware of potential hazards and keep their dogs safe in the winter. Remember, as your dog ages, he may be less tolerant to cold weather and you need to limit his time out in the elements.
Read on for three ways to keep your dog safe in winter while giving her a chance to breathe in the fresh, cold air and get some exercise!
In the winter, many pet parents put rock salt on the steps or driveway to melt away the snow and ice and make it safer for them to walk outside. This rock salt can injure your dog’s delicate paws.
Make certain, if you have pets in the household, that you invest in pet-friendly snow and ice melt products aka rock salt. You can put a paw protection wax on your dog’s paws before you take him outside; this is something that you rub on your dog’s paws to protect them from ice, snow and rock salt, and it only takes a few seconds to rub on.
When you bring your dog back indoors, clean out any snow, or rock salt from between the pads of his paws.
Anti-freeze is also a danger for dogs (and cats) in the winter. Anti-freeze has a sweet taste and dogs and cats may be tempted to lick if off the ground. Keep the ground clear of any anti-freeze, clean up any spills and store the anti-freeze in a safe location.
If your dog starts to shiver when you take her outdoors, you may want to put a jacket on her. Some dogs will tolerate clothing, while others won’t. You need to know your dog’s personality and whether wearing clothes would be more of a stressor than cold weather.
Wearing a jacket will keep snow off your dog and keep her warmer and if she likes to go on long walks, this will keep her protected from the elements. Some dogs wear booties to protect their paws from snow and ice and this may be an option for your dog.
For pet parents of dog breeds who love winter and who can tolerate the cold, you still need to provide protection from the elements. A dog who wants to be outdoors and running around in the yard in the cold, still needs a safe, warm place to go to when he’s done playing. Make sure your dog has a shelter with blankets where he can retreat.
If your dog has a shelter, check it regularly to make certain no rodents or other varmints have taken up residence. Clean any straw you may have put in there or wash any blankets or other bedding. You want to make certain the shelter isn’t full of snow or that the bedding isn’t icy.
Your dog will need to remain hydrated. Have a bowl of water available at all times. Assure that the water is not frozen or dirty.
Never leave your dog alone in a car, even in the winter. Just as you’d never leave your dog in a car in the heat of summer. Hypothermia can quickly set in and your dog could get sick or worse.