Although dogs have fur coats, it doesn't mean that they can tolerate the cold temperature during winter. Like us, our furry companions need extra TLC and protection against winter's chilly rain, sleet, snow, and dry, cold air. Now that we debunked the so-called coat of fur protection on dogs, here are some helpful do's and don'ts of winter pet care:
Do go outside when only the sun is up.
Winter isn't an excuse to postpone doggie walks. However, you have to make sure that the sun shines, so the temperature is a bit warmer. Opt for a late morning or early afternoon walks with your pet.
Don't extend outdoor time.
It is no secret that dogs love to spend time outdoors. But do remember that your furbaby's paws, ears, and tails are vulnerable to frostbite or hypothermia. Better limit outdoor time with your pup even before the winter season starts. Why? It will help your pup adjust well to their routine.
Maybe add a line here about getting extra toys to help keep them active in the months spent indoors.
Do bathe your dog at intervals.
Bathing your pet too often during winter is bad for their skin. Frequent washing can develop dry, flaky skin, and remove its essential oils. According to Dr. Rebecca Ruch-Gallie, service chief for the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital's community practice, mentions you should ask help from your vet to find a dog shampoo with moisturizer to prevent dry skin.
Don't let your dog play over frozen lakes.
Frozen lakes are a remarkable sight to see. However, it can pose a danger not only to humans but also to our pets. Your playful and curious dog may accidentally walk over a crack and may fall into the water with below zero temperatures. As much as possible, avoid winter dog walk paths with lakes nearby or stay in your neighborhood.
Do protect your dog from heat sources.
It is natural for dogs to seek heat in your house during winter. However, sometimes the only sources of heat are space heaters and fireplaces. Dr. Ruch-Gallie warns pet parents that these areas may pose burn risks for dogs. Ensure that you install a covering on it to prevent your fur baby from getting burned.
Don't take your eyes away from your dog during walks.
Doggos are adventurous creatures but don't let them wander on their own. Expect to face various weather conditions like rain, snow, ice, and fog when you're walking with your pup. Always watch over your dog and keep them on a leash. Ensure that its leash has a reflective collar and your dog is microchipped, and it’s best to end your walk before the sun sets.
Do take care of your dog's paws and stomach after walking them.
After a walk or play outside, take care of your dog's paws and stomach as ice or salt can buildup between its pads. This buildup may sting and irritate your dog's paws. Especially the winter salt that contains toxic elements. Your furry companion may lick it off to lessen their discomfort.
Prevent this by rinsing or wiping your dog's paws to remove any buildup. As for your puppy's body or stomach, dry it with a clean and soft towel. You may also provide them dog booties for longer pet-friendly walks. Or, as a cheaper alternative, massage their paws with petroleum jelly or vet-recommended paw protectants before going outside. And if you are putting salt out on the sidewalk, buy a pet friendly, non-toxic salt!
Don't let your dogs play outdoors when the temperature drops.
As a pet parent, you know that your pooch is the happiest when they are outside and roaming around. However, weather is unpredictable, and the temperature may drop below zero. Keep your fur baby inside with you and your family when this happens. But in case of an emergency, put up a draft-free dog house in your yard which has enough room for your puppy. Cover the doorway with waterproof burlap and a plastic dish full of water.
Do keep your dog away from antifreeze spills.
Did you know that antifreeze tastes sweet? A tempting sweet taste that your doggo will surely love to lick. However, antifreeze is highly toxic and fatal if ingested. This substance may damage their kidneys. The signs of antifreeze poisoning are vomiting, seizures, panting, spasms, cramps, and listlessness. Your dog may also drink more than usual.
You may prevent this by keeping them away from antifreeze spillages in the garage or on the road or cleaning up the spills quickly in the garage.
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