Cold weather brings safety and health concerns for both people and dogs. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to pay attention to your dog’s well-being during the winter.
The American Kennel Club offers the following advice to help prepare your pet for the long, cold winter.
Provide plenty of fresh water
Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, and snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.
Provide plenty of food
Feed your dog additional calories if he spends a lot of time outdoors. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so more calories are necessary.
Dogs kept indoors get less exercise during winter months and may gain weight, so keep an eye on their diet.
Keep your dog’s paws dry
Rinse your dog’s feet and dry them after a walk. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads.
A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking.
Groom your dog regularly
Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Towel or blow-dry your dog if he gets wet from rain or snow.
Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts
Adequate shelter is a necessity. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold. Place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.
Be mindful of these hazards
- Cold: Don’t leave your dog outside for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings, and dogs are susceptible to frostbite on their ears, tails and feet.
- Ice and snow: Be careful when walking or playing with your dog outside. Your pup could slip or jump in a frozen lake, river or pond. Snow can muffle scents, and your dog can easily get lost.
- Carbon monoxide: Don’t leave your dog alone in a car. It gets too cold, and carbon monoxide from an engine left running is dangerous.
- Antifreeze: Although it smells and tastes good to your dog, antifreeze is highly poisonous and can be lethal.