When the weather becomes colder, dogs require more attention to stay healthy, safe, and warm. Whether your dog spends a lot of time outside or only goes for a few short walks, they will need your assistance to prevent cold-weather health hazards. This winter, keep a few basic tips in mind.
Watch out on walks: The paws of your dog might be damaged by snow and ice. If they start limping during a stroll, look for ice between their toes and use petroleum jelly to calm cracked or red paw pads. Booties can be purchased to protect pets’ paws from the cold and ice, but make sure they fit properly and don’t prevent your dog from enjoying their time outside.
Grab a sweater: Smaller breeds and those with short hair may be more comfortable in a warm sweater or coat than dogs with dense fur.
Don’t leave pets in the car: In the same way that your car traps heat in the summer, it can stay cold in the winter, making your dog feel like he’s in a refrigerator. Dogs who are left in a cold car for an extended period can succumb to the cold.
Make your house the dog’s house: Even if your dog has a doghouse, if they spend the majority of their time outside, you must exercise caution when winter comes. Keeping your dog inside with you is the best way to keep them safe. If you must keep them outside, make sure they have a doghouse that is dry, pick, has a raised floor, and a doorway with a flap to keep out the wind and rain. Even with all of this, bring them inside when the temperature drops below freezing.
Keep chemicals away: Antifreeze in your car tastes good to pets, but it can be fatal if they ingest it. So wipe up any spills soon away and keep chemical containers out of reach of dogs. Ice melt and salt can dry out your dog’s paw pads, making them more prone to cracking and irritation. After each walk, wipe their paws clean.
Give extra helpings: If your dog spends a lot of time exercising outside in the cold, they’ll burn more calories and may require a little additional food to restore their strength. In the colder months, ask your vet if you should add a bit more to their bowl. Instead of one large meal, give them multiple small meals throughout the day.
Take care of sensitive skin: In the winter, your dog’s skin becomes drier, itchier, and flakier, just like yours. Bathe them less frequently than you would in the summer to avoid losing their coat of its natural oils. Use a moisturizing shampoo when you finally get them into the tub.
Recheck their collar, tag, and chip: In the winter, dogs are much more likely to become separated from their masters than at other times of the year. If they get away from you, the familiar scents they would use to locate their way back home can be obscured by heaps of snow and ice. As a result, ensure sure their collar is secure, their tag information is current, and if they have a microchip, the registration is current.
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