Cold Weather Tips for Dog Owners

Even if your dog has thick, bushy hair, he can feel cold in winter. Pets are as likely to be exposed to frostbite (frozen skin and tissue) and hypothermia (low body temperature) as their owners.

But protecting your underwear from the cold is easy. Much of the same protection you take for yourself keep your best friend safe and warm.

Limit your time outside.

No dog – not even the Arctic sled dog – is designed to spend a lot of time outdoors in winter. Thick hair does not protect all parts of the body.

“Their ears were open, their claws were in direct contact with the cold cement, their noses stuck out in the wind,” said K.C. Theisen, director of animal care for the United States Humane Society. “Never leave a dog for a while unattended. Only take them out when they are active and exercising.” Even so, if it’s really cold, you may have to cut the distance.

Give him warmth.

Small and short-haired dogs need extra help when it is cool. Puppies and older dogs can also have difficulty controlling their body heat.

“A sweater or coat can be a great addition that makes a pet more comfortable,” says Tizen. But keep your head naked. “If it’s so cold that you think you have to cover their heads, you probably shouldn’t go outside.”

To keep your coat healthy in winter, accumulate protein and fat in its diet.

Wipe the paws.

Ice, snow, salt, and toxic chemicals like antifreeze and thawing can build up on your dog’s paw. If licked, he could swallow poison. Anti-freeze ingredients, in particular, taste sweet but can be deadly.

Remember to wipe his paws with a towel every time he walks in, says Taizen. Also, check the bandage regularly for injuries. Ice and snow can cause painful cracking and bleeding. Trim the hair between your toes to prevent ice from building up.

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