Winter Care Tips for your Dog

Most people think that a dog is adapted just as well to being inside as well as outside, and for many breeds, like Huskies, St. Bernards and Labs, to name a few, they can spend hours in the snow and wet of winter and not even feel it. But many other breeds of dogs don’t do so well when the temperature drops, and as their humans, we need to be a little bit understanding of their special needs during this time, to keep them warm, healthy and happy no matter what the weather is like.

So, to make sure your 4 legged buddy doesn’t have any problems during the cold and chill, here are some winter tips for your dog that will keep their tail wagging all season long.

What’s the Temp?

Yes, taking your pooch for a walk is a natural part of owning a dog, and regardless of the temperature outside, your dog will want to get out and go no matter what. But this is the time to understand that, just like in humans, it can be too cold for your dog, whether they know it or not. So, a good rule of thumb here is that, if it is too cold for you to take a walk then it is too cold for your dog as well. That may seem like common sense, but many people force themselves to walk their dog in even the coldest weather, and that could, potentially, do more harm than good.

Protect Their Feet

The first thing that contacts the cold of winter are a dogs feet. Unlike you, who wears shoes and/or boots to keep the snow off and your feet warm, a dog is essentially going barefoot when they are outside. Even on relatively warmer winter days, the concrete or asphalt beneath a dogs feet can be many degrees colder than the outside air.

There are a couple of things you can do to keep a dogs feet warm, and one of them is to get a good pair of doggie booties for them to wear. Your friend may not like them initially, but once they figure out how to walk in them, it will go a long way to keeping their feet warm.

The other thing you can do is to coat their feet in either petroleum jelly or a commercially made pet foot balm made for cold weather. Granted, it will wear off the soles of their feet quickly, but it will prevent snow and ice from packing in between their toes, which will make any snowy walk much more comfortable for both you and your dog.

Doggie Clothing

The smaller a dog is, the less overall mass they have, the quicker they will get chilled during the winter. That’s why doggie clothing can be so important during the colder months of the year, especially for those smaller and less hairy or short haired breed of dogs.

There are many types of clothing that you can get for dogs of virtually any size, from pull-overs to full body suits, and there are even insulated types of clothing especially made to keep the cold away during walks or an extended outside stay.

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Watch Out for Anti-Freeze

Winter is the time when you might start seeing blue or green tinged snow around roads or driveways. Those are spots made from anti-freeze that have spilled from a vehicles overflow hose.

Anti-freeze is sweet tasting, and if your dog gets a chance, they might want to lick it up and taste it. But anti-freeze is potentially deadly for your pet, so you will have to keep your eyes peeled for those anti-freeze spots and make absolutely sure that on any dog walk, you keep your pet well away from these places.

A Few Other Tips

  • Your dog burns more calories in the winter, so feel free to give them a little extra food in their bowl.
  • Always keep a towel on hand to wipe your furry friend down after being out in the slushy cold snow.
  • The best time to walk is when the sun is shining, which can warm up both you and your pooch.
  • Don’t give regular baths during the winter. You’ll be removing essential oils that can keep them a bit warmer during every walk.
  • Wait until spring for major dog grooming. Allowing them to grow their hair out gives them a little extra protection during the cold weather.

Every dog owner loves their dog, and wants to keep them tail wagging happy. By following these winter care tips, you’ll both be able to have fun in the snow and cold, while keeping them ready to go for that next winter wonderland walk.

About the Author 

Mary Nielsen is a passionate dog lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She founded MySweetPuppy.net to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable mutts. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.

About Kristie Sargent

Kristie is part of the husband-and-wife team that own and run Philly Pet Care. She is the proud mom to son Connor and three fur kids, including two cats, Street Cat and Diesel, and dog Janey, a terrier mix adopted from a no-kill shelter. Janey is lovingly referred to as the “house dog” and is Philly Pet Care’s mascot. Learn more and come find me on Google+

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