While we’re sure most people who live in regions that are cold during the winter have a good idea how to take care of their pets when the frost sets in, there are always travelers and new dog owners that have never before care for a dog during the icy months.
Below, you’ll find a list of tips and tricks for ensuring that your dog is properly cared during winter, so please give them a quick read – and be sure to forward this list to any new dog owners or regular travelers you know.
1. Apparel matters
Dog coats and insulated dog vests can make a huge difference in maintaining your dog’s core temperature. In addition, if your dog will tolerate them, put on protective dog boots that provide extra traction on icy surfaces. There are also paw pad protectors that adhere to the pads for added cushion and traction and that can be gently pulled off after being outside.
2. Rein in your doggie
Before stepping outside for a walk in the snow, think about which leash to use. A shorter leash is highly recommended for winter months because it gives you much more control over unsure ground. If you use a longer leash that gives your dog room to run and tug, you could end up taking a fall and injuring yourself. The colder it is, the shorter the leash.
3. Don’t ignore nature’s call
Some dogs have difficulty wading through thick snow to go outside, especially those that are small or elderly. Some just plain refuse to budge out the door during snow storms. This creates a potential problem when your dog receives the call of nature. Keeping a pathway shoveled to a clear spot of earth is a good idea, but putting temporary pee pads in your bathroom during a storm might be necessary as well.
4. Stay off the ice
Every year, a startling number of dogs are treated for exposure and injuries acquired from falling through the ice over a pond or lake. Don’t assume your dog won’t fall through the ice because he weighs less than a human. Unless the ice is safe for skating, don’t let your dog walk on it.
5. Perform paw inspections after each outing
Salt, de-icing chemicals, and frozen grit can injure and irritate your dog’s paw. After each walk, consider pouring a bowl of warm water, dipping your dog’s paws into it, and then wiping them clean with a cloth. You might that find your dog actually enjoys the attention!