5 Ways to Winterizing Your Dog
Winter’s arrival brings frigid winds and dipping temperatures that require making a few adjustments to your pet care routine. While you may want to snuggle by the fire, it is hard to resist when your dog playfully brings you their leash. Fortunately, you can protect your pup from winter’s bite by taking a few simple actions that will keep them comfortable and healthy throughout these colder months.
Dress Them Up
Doggie sweaters and jackets do more than just make an adorable fashion statement. During freezing weather, your dog may need an extra layer to keep them warm. This is especially important for shorthaired breeds such as Chihuahuas, but all dogs can benefit from some type of extra clothing during the winter months. If your dog has a thick coat, make sure to go with a lighter fabric for their sweaters, and remember to take it off once you get indoors. It is also important to change their coat if it gets wet while you are playing outside since being soaked in freezing temperatures can lead to hypothermia.
Protect Their Paws
Your dog’s paw pads are susceptible to the cold. Just as they may become burned by the hot summer concrete, those delicate pads can also be harmed by ice on your walking path. During walks, try to avoid icy sidewalks and hiking trails, and check your dog’s pads periodically for signs of injury such as bleeding or raw spots. You can also prevent some of the ice accumulation by asking your dog’s groomer to clip their hair shorter between their toes. On long walks, put special dog booties on your pet’s feet to protect the pads from prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures.
Trim Their Coat Longer
Dogs have the benefit of wearing their coat year round. Yet, your groomer has probably kept it shorter during the summer months to keep them cool. Now, you can switch back to keeping their coat on the longer side so that it can serve its purpose as an extra layer of warmth. Just make sure to keep their coat dry. When you come inside after playing in the snow, give them a good wipe down with a towel. It is also important to wait until their coat is completely dry after grooming before doing outside.
Pet Proof Your Home
Once winter hits full swing, you can expect that your dog will be staying indoors more often. Yet, there are several indoor winter hazards to check for in your home. Make sure that any portable heaters are kept away from your pet’s reach so you can avoid burns. It is also important to make sure your dog does not ingest a toxic plant or food since these are more common during the winter. Plants, such as poinsettias are toxic to dogs, so only place these where they will be out of your dog’s range.
Taking your pet with you on winter forays is always fun, but be alert to potentially dangerous situations. For example, winter hikes are a great way to let your dog explore nature, but frozen bodies of water could pose a risk for your dog falling through. Never let your dog walk on ice, and remember that your car’s temperature quickly drops once it is no longer running. Similar to the summer, make sure you can take your dog inside with you if you bring your dog along on errands or decide to dine out.
This winter, winterizing your dog will get them ready for fun by making sure they stay comfortably warm. By dressing them up and knowing about potential winter hazards, you can get the most enjoyment out of the cooler months while keeping your pet healthy.
Thank you to Kaley McAuliffe, the owner/ operator/ groomer of Hey Rover! Be Right Over.com for this informative article! She is a Southern California girl who is living her dream by making dogs’ lives better each and every day.