The winter months mean breaking out the warmest jackets, snow boots, gloves, hats, and other accessories. But what considerations should we take for our pups in the winter months? Here are a few tips.
Ice Melt - Ouch!
Salt, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride used to melt ice can be harmful to paw pads. Be sure when using ice melt you use the pet safe version. If your dog does accidentally tread on one of the products that aren't pet safe, be sure to wipe his or her paw pads off with a towel and water as soon as possible.
You might also consider outfitting your dog with a pair of weatherproof booties. Booties are great for not only protecting paw pads from salt but also to help keep snowballs from forming in-between toes, which can be quite painful! Sweaters and jackets are also a great option for dogs with a minimal hair coat, small dog breeds, and dogs that may be health- compromised.
When maintaining vehicles in the winter, be sure that pets are kept away from antifreeze. Even a drop of antifreeze can be lethal to a pet and its sweet taste attracts them. If you think your dog may have consumed antifreeze, take them to a vet immediately. There are also many pet safe variations of antifreeze on the market.
Grooming for Nature's Purpose
Keeping dogs well-groomed in the winter months can really help them properly utilize their natural insulation. When a dog’s undercoat is weighed down with loose hair, it can’t effectively create a thermal layer. Brushing your dog out frequently to remove dead hair can go a long way toward keeping him or her warm this winter. Flaky and itchy skin from the dry air caused by heaters also afflicts pets this time of year. You might consider adding an omega supplement to help your dog maintain natural oil production for healthy skin.
Watch for Signs of Hypothermia
The best rule of thumb is if you are uncomfortable in the outdoor temperatures, your dog probably is, too!
On frigid days, limit your pup's outside time for when nature calls. Also be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypothermia so you can get your pet help immediately if need be. Signs can include shaking and shivering, disorientation, and being cold to the touch.