If you live in a cold climate, winter weather can take its toll on your dog’s health and well-being. Dogs need protection from snow, ice, and frigid temperatures as well as the effects of chemical products used during the season. However, there are many joys of the season and with some advance planning you and your pup can enjoy safe outdoor fun.
Protect your pup’s paws
Ice and snow covered streets are very harsh on your dog’s paws. Snow can become impacted between the pads on their feet and cause pain and irritation. If a long outing is planned, protect your pup’s foot pads by coating them in a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a small amount of cooking spray. This will serve as both a protective coating and prevent snow and ice from sticking. After playtime or a walk in the snow gently wipe out the area between the pads to make sure they are clean, dry, and free of any irritants.
Stay clear of the ice melt
If you walk your dog on neighborhood sidewalks or city streets you are sure to encounter products that have been sprinkled to melt ice. Popular, inexpensive chemical ice melts often use calcium chloride, sodium chloride or potassium chloride to quickly turn ice to water. All of these chemical compounds a are highly corrosive, can irritate your dog’s paws, and are toxic if ingested. Try to avoid them as much as possible and be sure to thoroughly rinse and clean paws after walks.
When choosing a product to melt ice, consider kosher salt. Kosher salt is highly effective for melting ice, is non-toxic, and earth friendly.
Stay warm during long outings
Some dogs need extra protection from cold temperatures and would benefit from a sweater when outside enjoying a winter walk. Small, elderly, and those with a short coat are most vulnerable. Sweaters can be both functional, fashionable and suited to every occasion and taste. Choose a sweater that is comfortable for your dog and does not restrict their movements. Be careful of small buttons or other adornments that could be chewed, swallowed, and pose a choking hazard.
Don’t forget yourself! If you are comfortable and protected from harsh weather you are more likely to enjoy the walk and you and you pup will benefit from the extra exercise and time spent together.
Keep your pup dry and comfortable
After a fun day out in wet weather it is important to properly dry your dog’s fur. Highly absorbent, chemise towels are a good choice since they quickly pull the moisture off your dog’s fur making them highly effective even with an uncooperative pup. Pay close attention to the ears, feet, and underbelly being careful to rub gently, especially on long haired dogs, to avoid matting.
Many dogs enjoy snow and don’t mind cold temperatures so there is no reason to be inactive during the winter months. Gear up and head out for a fun day outdoors any time of the year.