Wow, has it been oh...my...gosh...cold or what? Originally from Missouri I never considered temps in the 30s that cold, but now that I’ve turned all soft and gooey, it sure feels that way! During the dip in temps we need to remember that even though our pets have built in fur coats, it’s still not always enough. It never hurts to brush up on cold weather facts about your dog that will save you and them distress or worse. Your dog’s immune system can be compromised by cold weather, and they get sick easier in the winter than any other season; and it’s up to us to protect them.
We should always make sure our pets have a warm place to reside out of the way of drafts or cold floors. Blankets, a bed or a pillow (at minimum) on the floor will keep a chill away at night. Short haired dogs benefit from a sweater or light jacket as well. Keep in mind dogs lose body heat through ears and foot pads, so a blanket is ideal. They are usually good at nesting and figuring the rest out when proper supplies are provided.
Leaving a pet in a car in the winter is as much of a no-no as it is in the summer. An engine running produces a carbon monoxide risk and an engine off leads to a chilling or hypothermic pet. Just don’t risk it.
We should dry feet after a walk in the cold, moist grass as it can create tiny cuts or cracked pads if not dried thoroughly. Petroleum jelly is good to soften and to use as a protecting barrier. If your dog is long haired, make sure paw pad hair is trimmed to avoid trapping moisture.
Holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are pet poison. Also, tree trimmings such as tinsel can obstruct delicate intestines should they be ingested.
If a dog lives outdoors, even with warm shelter, they need more calories in the winter to regulate their temperature. Same goes with the trusty pooch that you walk or jog with in the cold.
We should keep an eye out for antifreeze in driveways as this is attractive to dogs in smell and taste and is lethal. Most ice slippage products are harmful as well.
Keep your dog on a leash when outside. More dogs are lost in the winter than at any other time. Rain and snow wipe out normal scents that would steer them home upon getting lost.
Grooming, be it by yourself or a professional, helps the coat properly insulate. This should be done on a regular basis to keep your dog’s skin and coat as healthy as possible so natural insulation can occur at its optimum.
Now that we’ve refreshed our memory on the obvious, let’s go forth into the winter and holiday season with a clear conscious that we are doing all that we can to keep our beloved pets that spoil us with their love safe. Woof!
Terri is the owner of Spoiled to the Bone Dog Grooming in Surf City. Some of her hobbies include studying the holistic approach to grooming with emphasis in skin and coat, music and exercise on the beach with her beloved BFF, rescued Poodle, Tiki .