If you live in where the winters are cold ( and as a Minnesota resident who grew up in the South, you have my sympathy) then you should have a yearly routine to get your dog ready for the winter weather. Even some of you lucky ones who live a bit farther south can still have unexpected dips into the single digits and should have a game plan for you and your dog for winter.
Just as you cruise the mall for a snuggley new winter coat, you may want to snag your blissful dog a new sweater or dog coat, too. If you walk on sidewalks where ice is used, consider boots for your buddy.
Here are some cold weather tips and hints for you and your dog this winter:
Do not leave your dog outside unsupervised without a heated shelter. Just because your dog has fur, it does not mean he can be outside for hours on end with no heated shelter. Some breeds (like Newfoundlands, Huskies and Malamutes) are well suited to cold weather, but all dogs should be able to get to a warm place all the time. Most dogs do best living indoors, even the furriest of them all. If your dog has to live outdoors, make sure they have a heated bed or access to a warm place to retreat to.
Small dogs or those with short hair should have sweaters or jackets to shield them from the cold and wind.Pretty much all of the breeds that would need nose butter would need a coat or sweater (interesting fact). Some dogs seem to revel in their adorable-ness in their new sweater while others loathe it and will fight like crazed wolverines if you try to clothe them. Respect their individuality and don’t force them to wear clothes if they hate it.
Keep food and water in a place where they will not freeze – preferably inside! A heated dog bowl can keep outdoor water and food from freezing. Even outside dogs should be brought inside to eat and for a daily “once-over.”
Prevent Froze Toes! If your dog will tolerate it, consider dog boots. This can keep your dog’s feet safe from dangerous objects hidden by the snow or salt on paths, roads and sidewalks. Boots can also keep your dog from slipping on ice. Of course, we recommend you buy a tin of our The Blissful Dog Toes Butter to help keep their feet soft and comfy during the winter months. We have added Mango Butter to the mix for extra emollient power.
When walking your dog near ice, be extra careful to avoid slipping. Always keep a close watch on your dog and be sure he stays close to you. Do not allow your dog to run across frozen bodies of water – he could fall into icy water if the ice is too thin! As someone who lives on a lake in northern Minnesota, it still scares me to see trucks driving on the ice…but I still feel it is better to be safe than…you know…and I don’t allow the Frenchies out on the frozen lake.
If you use a fireplace, always keep fireplace guard around it to keep your dog from getting too close. Even after the fire burns out they will want to play in the soot and could get burned by an ember. My Frenchies are infamous soot rollers, so we know how careful you have to be!
If your dog is in the cold and begins shaking or shivering, get him back to warmth ASAP. If you are afraid your dog is developing hypothermia, rush him to a vet immediately.
Do not let your dog eat snow. Dangerous objects or chemicals may be hidden in the snow. Also, eating snow this can cause stomach upset and even hypothermia.
Antifreeze tastes good to pets and even a small amount can kill your dog. Though exposure to antifreeze is a risk all year, the risk is especially high during the colder months. Keep your eyes on your dog at all times – and keep antifreeze out of reach. If you suspect your dog has had ANY exposure to antifreeze, get to a vet right away. This is CRITICAL!
Our blog features a little bit of everything canine; from health articles, to the history of dog breeds, to heart-warming dog tales, you can count on a veritable feast of dog info. Let me know if you have an idea or question.