Preparing Your Dog for Winter
With winter just around the corner, it’s time to prepare your pet for the frigid temperatures. The cold, dry air often causes respiratory tract problems, itchy or dry sky and chapped paws.
Cut Back on Bathing
During the summer months, Fido spends a lot of time playing outdoors and rolling in the grass. However, during the winter months, your pup is probably indoors more hours throughout the day. A home’s heating system can quickly dry out the air, especially if you have a wood burning stove or fireplace. To combat dry, itchy skin, you should consider bathing your pet less often. Washing your dog’s coat removes oils that not only protect the dog’s fur but also the skin.
Avoid shaving your dog’s hair during the winter. Let the fur grow longer to provide insulation from the cold.
Trim the hair between your dog’s toes to prevent the buildup of ice or snow when you walk your furry friend outdoors. You could also purchase a pair of dog booties to keep your dog’s tootsies warm. Booties are insulated and provide traction on icy surfaces.
Invest in Dog Clothing
You’ll find a wide array of dog clothing that provides extra insulation from the cold. Why not purchase a dog jacket or sweater to help keep Fido warm? You can put the clothing on your dog before going for a walk outdoors to help protect your canine buddy from the bone-chilling wind.
Bring Your Dog Indoors
Most dog breeds cannot tolerate extremely wintry weather. Only a few breeds such as the Malamute or the Siberian Husky flourish in freezing temperatures. Ideally, you should always bring your dog indoors for the winter. If you cannot bring the canine inside, then make sure that the dog has a heated and insulated shelter to protect the pet from the cold.
Adjust Your Dog’s Food
During the winter, most pets (especially those kept outdoors) will burn extra calories as the animal’s body tries to stay warm and develop an extra fat layer for insulation. Consider feeding a food with high protein when the mercury drops.
Always Check Water
Outdoor sources of water will freeze over during the winter, so you’ll need to constantly give your dog water. You can also install a water heater to the pet’s food bowl to prevent the water from freezing.
Only Use Pet Friendly Products
In the winter months, you should avoid using salt and de-icers which can damage your pup’s paws and nose. Instead, pick pet-friendly ice melts that contain propylene glycol instead of poisonous ethylene glycol.
Automobile antifreeze is also poisonous to pets. While pouring the antifreeze into your auto, you might accidentally spill some of the product which could pose a danger to your pet if the animal should lick it up.
Apply Paw and Nose Balms
Your dog’s paw pads, and nose can easily start to dry out and crack. In extreme cases, the areas might even start to bleed. To protect your pup from suffering from dry paw pads and nose, apply a pet balm or petroleum jelly to the area to create a moisturizing layer of protection and prevent dryness.