With winter here, we all know the challenges of staying warm and safe. We must also take into consideration the well-being of our pets as the temperature drops. Here are a few simple tips you can take to make sure your fur-legged friend stays warm, comfortable, and healthy this winter season.
Keep a Time Limit on How Long Your Pup is Outside
The key is monitoring your pup and making sure he is not left outside for more than a few minutes at a time. Things such as frostbite can set in quickly, which can be very painful for your dog. Watch his behavior while outside, and if he begins to slow down or shiver, it's time to bring him in. Dogs do love the outdoors but have limitations, just like we do.
Bundle Your Pup Up
Yes, most dogs have thick coats, which will help keep them somewhat warm, but a second layer of insulation, such as a dog jacket or sweater, will help keep your pup warmer. Many pet stores carry insulated jackets which will prevent your dog from losing heat. This is especially important for dog breeds that have a thin coat and or are not designed to withstand cold weather.
Consider Your Pup's Age and General Activity Level
Young puppies and senior dogs tend to have more of a difficult time in cold weather. Although puppies love to play in the snow, they do not always know their limits and can find themselves in over their head (no pun intended) when a significant amount of snow falls. Dogs between two years of age and eight years of age tend to handle the cold weather better than puppies or senior pups.
Keep Your Dog's Paws Protected
Dogs have very sensitive and vulnerable paws, which is why keeping their paws safe is important. Dog booties offer a layer of protection between your pup's paws and the harsh ground. Ice and snow can quickly irritate the pads on your dog's paws. Other things, such as rock salt, which is used in the winter, can also greatly irritate his paws. Doggy booties are an inexpensive yet effective way to keep your pup feeling his best while outside in the winter. They may take some time to get used to, but they are well worth it.
Heating Beds for After Playtime
After your pup comes in, he will need to warm up. Providing your pup with a dog heating bed is a great way to help bring his body temperature up to where it needs to be. This will also help your four-legged friend relax and rest after exerting himself while outside. Several dog heating beds come with an automatic shutoff feature for safety. If a heating bed is out of your price range, consider a dog heating pad. This less expensive item will also allow your dog to warm up after being outside in the freezing weather.
Hydrate Your Dog After Playtime
Dogs do not only need extra water after playing in the warm months. Cold winter days will also require your pup to stay well hydrated. When the moisture in the air drops (as it often does) in the winter, your dog will need proper hydration. Providing your dog with ample amounts of room-temperature water when he returns inside will help keep him feeling his best.
Clean His Paws
If you opt not to use dog booties, be sure to make sure his paws are wiped down when he comes in. Rock salt and other anti-ice agents may cause your pup's paws to be in discomfort. Wiping them down will help to remove whatever he gets on them, plus it will prevent him from licking the substance off of his paws. This very quick and very easy chore will greatly benefit your dog.
We all love our dogs, and by taking a few simple precautions, we can ensure that they remain in top condition and feel great all winter long. Always remember, if it's too cold for you to be outside, it is probably too cold for your dog to be outside. Taking the time to make sure your pup is comfortable and safe is always very important.