Winterize Your Doggie

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Winterize Your Doggie

When the outside temperatures drop, we like to stay indoors and drink some hot chocolate or tea.  Similarly, we bundle ourselves into our nice, warm coats, put on our warmest shoes, and may even add some earmuffs before heading outside.

Our canine companions may be in need of such a treatment, but there are different things we need to observe before taking out furry friend out in winter weather.

Here are tips to help you to winterize your mutt and keep him a healthy hot dog:

  • If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, it is important to bring him inside more often. Keep in mind the wind-chill factor, which makes the weather actually feel colder than it reads on your thermometer. Even if your dog has a doghouse outside, do bring him in for the night. Frostbite is a very real danger to your dog’s extremities, such as the legs, ears, and even the tail.
  • Do not assume that you can forego giving your dog water in the winter since there is snow all over the ground.  Snow is not a substitute for a readily available supply of fresh water.
  • If you keep your dog in a tiled area of the house, such as a bathroom or a kitchen, make sure you leave some bedding, such as blankets, pillows, or towels.  Tiled floors can become extremely cold in winter, and if there is nothing between your dog and the floor, so will he. 
  • You will need to keep your dog safe from drafts. 
  • If your dog is a long-haired breed, it is a good idea to clip the hair around the paws to make sure that clumps of ice and snow do not accumulate and thus make it uncomfortable for him to walk.  On the other hand, if your dog is of a breed known for its short to medium hair length, this may be a good time to unpack the doggie sweaters to make sure he can enjoy your walks as much as you can!
  • If you live in an area where salt is used to de-ice streets and sidewalks, you will want to make extra certain that your dog’s paws are clean when you get back home.  You may even wish to go so far as to spread a very small amount of petroleum jelly on his paw pads to ensure that the salt is not leading to painful cracks in the skin that may become infected.
  • When you come inside after playing in the snow, be sure to blow-dry your dog so that he will not have the coldness of water next to his skin for extended periods of time. 

Yet there are other things to consider when winterizing your dog, and this involves winterizing your home as well.

For example, while you may stock up on antifreeze to keep your car from freezing up, or while you may have a sack of de-icer for your driveway, you do not want to have these items accessible to your canine companion. 

Dogs simply love the smell and taste of antifreeze, yet it is a deadly poison to them that has already cost many a dog’s life. Make sure that your car is not leaking antifreeze, and when you replenish the antifreeze in your car’s engine, be certain to clean up any spills, no matter how small they might be. 

With the cold winter weather also come the festive winter holidays...

Quite often these bring with themselves a whole host of items potentially dangerous to your four-legged companion, and winterizing your mutt may also mean keeping these problem items out of reach. 

Two things that come to mind immediately are tinsel, such as it is used to decorate Christmas trees and poinsettia plants that sometimes line our entryway or decorate our festive living rooms.

These items may cause severe illness in dogs if ingested, and it is best to forego the tinsel altogether while leaving the poinsettias on high shelves where the dog will not be able to reach it.

So go ahead and enjoy the winter with your mutt! With a little bit of preparation and some simple safety precautions, you should have a great time together!

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  • Alex Brown
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