As cold weather overtakes much of the country, it’s time to make sure your dog is properly prepared for the winter. Just as you winterize your home and your garden, you need to make special accomodations for your pets, as well. Below are the top ten tips from the American Kennel Club on ways to winterize your dog.
10. Keep the ice out of the water dish. Your dog needs plenty of fresh water all year long. In the winter, it’s your dog to make sure any outside water dishes stay free of ice and other debris.
9. Provide plenty of food. If your dog is a worker, or spends a lot of time outdoors, he may need extra calories to keep warm during the winter.
8. Check your dog’s paws at least daily for pad cracks. Dry your dog’s paws thoroughly after he’s been outside. If the pads dry out and become cracked, apply a bit of petroleum jelly to soften them.
7. Maintain proper grooming. Well-groomed coats are required for good insulation. Towel-dry your dog or use a blow dryer when he comes in from a romp in the snow.
6. Provide adequate shelter. If you keep your dog outdoors, provide straw or a heated area for the dog to escape the cold. Inside, tiles or uncarpeted areas may be too cold for your dog to sleep on, particularly if he is older. Many of us are turning the thermostat down as the economy tanks, but don’t forget that your dog cannot grab an extra quilt for his bed.
5. Provide a place for the dog to get warm. Wind can make the temperature seem much colder than the actual temperature. Dogs are prone to frostbite on their ears, tails, and feet, so make sure you provide a place for them to get warmed up when the temperatures fall.
4. Watch out for ice. Just like you, your dog can slip on the ice and become seriously injured. Guide him around the ice on your daily walks. Never let him find out the hard way that the ice on the pond isn’t strong enough to hold him.
3. Keep him close. The snow can muffle scents, making it hard for your dog to find his way back home if he gets too far away.
2. Watch out for carbon monoxide. Most of us are aware that this odorless, colorless gas can overcome us, displacing oxygen from the red blood cells and starving our body tissues. This can happen if heating appliances are not properly vented in the house, but it can also happen in a car left running to keep it warm. Don’t leave your dog alone in the car for any length of time.
1. Keep antifreeze out of reach after you have filled your car’s reservoir. Antifreeze smells and tastes wonderful to your dog, but it is highly poisonous. Just a few drops can kill your beloved friend.
Follow these suggestions for a safe and happy winter season for you and your dog.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!