Preparing your Dog for Winter
Just when you thought we had some time to wait for winter weather, the great north east was blasted with snow this past weekend. Looks like Jack Frost is arriving early in some parts of the country. Many people will be insulating their homes, “winterizing” their automobiles, preparing their fireplaces and pulling out winter blankets. You’re ready to prepare yourself for the cold and snow, but what about your pooch?
Here are some tips on how to keep your little love pup warm and safe this winter….
- Just because dogs have fur does not mean they have a winter jacket on 24 hours a day. Certain breeds like huskies have more of a protective fur than other dogs. Ever hear the saying, “dogs are people too?” When it comes to the cold and frigid temps, it s very important to take care of your fur baby and protect them from getting sick.
- My family back east has a West Highland Terrier, Buddy. His absolute favorite spot to sleep during the cold winter months is near the fireplace. If you have a fireplace, it is very important to have a safety guard surrounding your fireplace to protect your dog from any soot or burning. There are some beautiful fireplace protectors available that not only to protect your family and pup, but add as a nice decoration to your home.
- There are some folks that think dogs should not have clothing. Yes! The dog owners that say, “they have fur for a reason.” No! When it comes to cold temperatures, small breeds or dogs with basically no fur (like Chihuahuas, Mini Pinschers, and Greyhounds) should have a winter jacket or vest when venturing outside. Some dogs will not tolerate clothing. Do not force them to wear it, just be mindful when it comes to how long your keep outside or in colder temperatures. Basically, if your pup cannot stand the winter gear you want the to wear, it’s OK. Just be sure to keep them outside for a limited time. A short, brisk walk or simply just letting them “do their business” should be time enough when temperatures are frigid.
- With clothing comes foot protection. Snow can be a mask to harmful objects such as glass and sharp pieces of ice. Again, if your pup will tolerate wearing booties, by all means go for it! Not only can booties protect your dog from harmful objects, but they will also help in keeping them away from direct contact with melting salts. If you can find booties with rubber bottoms, this can preent your dog from slipping and sliding during icy situations.
- Antifreeze! YIKES! Of course it is a necessity during winter months, but for dogs it tastes like candy. Just a small amount, if consumed by your g]dog can kill them. Be sure to keep all anti-freeze out of reach for your pet. If at ANY time you suspect your dog has digested anti-freeze, waste NO time in getting your pooch to a vet. It can save their life!
- A sign that your pup may be feeling cold? If you are wrapped up in Snuggie and a blanket but you don’t have your heat on-keep an eye on your dog. If you notice your dog cannot get comfortable and goes from the couch to the floor-to the love seat to the kitchen…it’s time for some TLC. Go to your local pharmacy and look for the winter throws. They are mid sized blankets that cost about five dollars. If your pup looks uncomfortable and you known your house has a slight winter chill, throw the blanket in their bed. You will be amazed at how quickly they side with their new blankie. Frankly, if it’s freezing out put the heat on; Not just for your pup, but for yourself!
- Keeping your dog warm is just as important as keeping them warm. There are stories on the news every now and then about some irresponsible and selfish dog owner leaving their pup in the car when its 95 degrees outside. The same rules apply when it comes to winter. Do NOT allow your pet to be outdoors for an extended period of time. Just because they have fur, does not mean they are winter-proofed. Just because we have skin, does that mean we are winter-proofed?
Winter is a lovely time to snuggle with your pup. Always remember, dogs are the only beings on earth that love you more than they love themselves. Snuggle your fur baby and prevent them from sickness and being cold. They are part of the family and they need the warmth too. They warm our hearts, be sure to return the favor!