If you’re anything like me then you view winter as a season to get through as quickly as possible. Every year I begin winter preparations in the fall by taking stock of my winter gear including coat, boots, gloves, etc. and figure out what I have and what I need. Quick side note, as a dog lover you should make sure any gear you purchase is (where applicable) ethical, traceable, and sustainable such as jackets by Fjallraven (Canada Goose is a no no for dog lovers, they use Coyote Fur).
While there are a numerous considerations and preparations we need to make for our own comfort it’s important that we’re also mindful of our pets. Below are a few tips and reminders to help make you’re annual winter dog prep easier.
Protect your dogs feet with dog boots or paw wax
If you’re walking your pup and you notice that he suddenly begins to limp, or stops in his tracks and lifts a paw in the air, it’s likely that he has gotten salt stuck in his paw and it’s irritating him. Simply take your finger and sweep out the areas behind and in between his paw pads, this will likely solve the problem. Be sure to check the area more thoroughly when you get home to make sure
While companies make pet safe salt, unfortunately most businesses and buildings use the regular non-pet safe stuff as it’s cheaper. This means there are two ways to protect your pup from the dangers of ice melting salt, which is made with chemicals that in the worst cases can burn your pups paws and fur.
- Walk around, or altogether avoid, areas that are heavily salted.
- Consider the use of dog boots and / or paw wax
There are plenty of companies that make dog boots these days, options range from minimal balloon like boots to full on lace up shoes. You probably already know about dog boots as currently a quick search on Amazon.com reveals over 2,000 results.
Paw wax is another option that you might not be as familiar with. The wax is a topical ointment that you can apply to your pups paw pads with your fingers. Basically the wax creates a protective barrier so that chemicals, and hot or cold surfaces, won’t injury your pup.
If you’re in charge of salt at your home or at your business, do your pup a favor and dog-friendly salt at your local pet or hardware store. These use a different type of salt to get rid of ice and snow, and they’re safe for your dog to walk on without being burned or cut.
Limit Outdoor Time in Periods of Extreme Cold
Every year there are many dogs that are seriously injured due to over exposure to extreme temperatures. Without fail, their owners note that they thought their pups fur would keep them warm enough. Most dogs fur coats simply don’t provide enough insulation for your pup to keep warm overnight or for long periods of time when the temperature dips below freezing.
Limit walks outside to 30-minutes or less when the weather is unbearably cold.
Most dogs love to play in the snow, but much like children, they should be supervised and brought inside after 20-minutes or so. Doggie paws suffer frostbite just like human hands. And, fur can get wet and freeze leading to discomfort or even worse frostbite.
After playing in the snow, towel dry your pup and let him find a nice warm spot. He’ll naturally gravitate toward the best heat sources like in front of the fireplace or near the radiator. This is fine as long as they don’t get too close.
Finally, consider purchasing a winter coat for your pup to keep him comfortable during the Winter. As with boots, the options are plentiful. Everything from wool lining, to waterproof options exist in an abundance of styles.
Feed Her More during the Winter
Your pup won’t argue with this tip! During the cold winter months, you can feed her a little extra to help keep her warm.
Simply put, the cold weather causes her to burn more calories to keep warm. Since she’s using more calories day-to-day it’s okay to feed her a little more than normal, just make sure to reduce the feedings once the weather changes for the better.
Bathe Him Less
Another tip that your pup is sure to approve! Reduce the frequency of baths during cold weather months. Bathing can remove essential oils from your dog’s skin that he needs insulate his body from the cold. Unless he really needs it, try to avoid baths until the weather warms up.
No Sleeping Outside
Even if your she loves to sleep on the back porch during nice weather, she’s not safe outside in below freezing temperatures.
Every year dogs are found frozen to death because they were left outside. Sleeping on the ground, even with a dog bed, does not provide enough heat to keep them safe.
If it’s too cold for you to sleep outside, it’s too cold for your dog.
If your dog needs to sleep overnight at a daycare or boarding facility, make sure the place lets them sleep inside.
Click Here to learn how Spot Canine Club provides your dog with a cage-free sleeping environment, inside, and keeps them warm and safe on even the coldest of winter nights in NYC.