Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but it’s your job to keep your pup delightful!
Dogs might have a shaggy winter coat (some breeds, at least), but this doesn’t mean they’re fine outside in cold weather. If you’re cold, so is your pooch.
If you can, let your pet stay inside during cold times. Make sure their bed or crate is away from a drafty area. If they must stay outside during the day, an insulated doghouse filled with clean, dry hay will help them find refuge from the cold. It’s even better if it has a door to block the wind.
If you’re at risk of frostbite, so is your pup! Don’t allow them to be exposed to extremely cold temperatures for long periods of time. If you do go for a romp through the snow, knock snow and ice off their feet as soon as you come back inside. The pads of their feet are very sensitive to extreme temperatures. Make sure you dry off their coat, especially any hair that hangs down close to the ground.
Another good reason to wipe your pet thoroughly after they come inside is that some chemicals used for snow removal can be toxic to your dog. Salt and other deicers can irritate their feet and skin, and they should be wiped off immediately.
‘Tis the season for antifreeze, but make sure it stays in your car. Your pup might like to lick it because it has a sweet taste, but it can be fatal to pets, causing kidney failure.
Another cold weather car hazard is its warm engine. Pets might seek shelter in the mechanical areas of a recently-driven car. Honk your horn before driving off to startle any sleeping pet out of the car engine.
Finally, in the cold months, check to make sure your dog’s water bowl isn’t frozen over, and you may have to adjust their food intake to help them regulate their body heat. Ask your veterinarian about appropriate amounts of food and how to adjust it.