Is Your Dog Winter-Ready?
This time of year, you’re probably taking some steps to prepare your home for winter.
Maybe you’re disconnecting hoses from outdoor faucets and shutting off those water points. Or, cleaning out gutters and downspouts of leaves.
All are wise and necessary steps to keep your home safe during the cold winter months.
But if you have dogs at home, have you taken steps to ensure they’re winter-ready, too?
Winter presents some serious threats to your dog’s health, especially if you live in an area with low temps and serious snow.
You want to make sure your pup stays healthy and safe throughout the winter season.
Where there is snow, there is usually salt and de-icing chemicals that can stick to your dog’s coat and irritate their paws.
Each time you come in from a walk, take care to pat down your dog with a towel and wipe carefully between the toes, to remove snow balls and salt crystals that may be stuck to the coat and paws.
If you’ve got a long-haired dog, you never want to shave them down to the skin in winter.
Their longer coat will provide warmth during those cold winter walks.
Instead of shaving, trim the hair… especially around the toes to minimize the ice balls, chemicals, and salt that can cling to the hair.
During winter, try to limit baths for your dog, as washing too often will remove the essential oils in the skin. These oils help protect your pup from developing dry, flaky skin.
If your pup’s paws seem dry and irritated, try massaging with a paw salve like petroleum jelly or coconut oil into the paw pads before going out for a walk. This can add an extra layer of protection from the salt and chemicals.
Booties offer even more paw protection, but some pups simply refuse to wear them. (If you ever want a chuckle, search the Internet for pups wearing booties videos.)
Do you add antifreeze to your car during winter?
If so, you want to take extra precautions if you have a dog.
Antifreeze tastes sweet to pups, but as little as a teaspoon of the stuff can result in kidney failure.
Some signs that your dog has swallowed antifreeze include drooling, vomiting, seizures, excessive thirst, panting, and the look of being drunk.
Keep your antifreeze tucked away where your dog can’t get to it. And, clean-up after you’ve been using it, to ensure there are no spills that your pup can lick up.
If you do suspect that your dog has ingested antifreeze, call your vet right away.
Finally, never leave your pup outside for an extended period of time.
If it’s too cold for you to be out, it’s too cold for your dog.
So, let him out to do his business, but bring him back inside to help prevent hypothermia.
You can’t stop winter from coming, but you can plan for its arrival.
Protect your pup from winter threats to keep him happy and healthy.