Winter weather and chilly temperatures are not just rough for humans, but they affect your dog too!
Check out our tips below to keep your dog healthy and safe this winter:
1 - Limit time outside and keep your dog inside.
When temperatures dip, limit their time outdoors and keep walks short. Any pets that normally spend a lot of time outdoors should be brought inside. A good rule of thumb is that if it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your pet!
2 - Know your dog's limits.
A small, short-coated dog cannot withstand the cold as well as a taller, longer/heavy-coated dog. Make sure to bundle up short-coated dogs in a jacket. For smaller dogs, since they are lower to the ground, they are more likely to have contact with the snow. Even though longer/heavy-coated dogs are more tolerant of colder temperatures, still limit the time outdoors to protect them and their paws from the low temperatures and snow and ice.
When outdoors, watch your dog for signs that the cold temps are too much for them. Whining, shivering, slowing down, and stopping are all signs your pet needs brought indoors. If you suspect a dog may have frostbite or hypothermia take them to your veterinarian.
3 - Wipe fur and paws down.
Be sure to wipe your dog down with a towel after being outside to remove any snow and ice and help keep them dry and warm. Pay attention to their stomachs, paws, and legs which can frequently get covered with snow or water.
4 - Careful with the paws!
After being outdoors, snow, ice, salt, deicers, and other chemicals used to treat the roads can get on your dog's paws. Wipe paws after every walk to remove these and to keep your pet from ingesting any salt, deicers, or other harmful chemicals. Use pet safe deicers at your own home on walkways and driveways. Keep the fur between paw pads clipped shorter to avoid painful snow and ice build-up between the pad pads.
5 - Avoid ice especially any bodies of water such as ponds, creeks, rivers, and lakes.
Ice on bodies of water may not be frozen solid and you and your pet may fall through into freezing water. Also, be careful when walking over any unavoidable patches of ice on roads, sidewalks, and driveways - it can be slippery for both you and your dog.
6 - Make sure your dog is microchipped and wears a collar outdoors.
Snow covered landscapes can mask familiar scents and smells and make it difficult for your dog to know where they are and find their way home should they get loose. A microchip and a collar with an ID tag with your current contact information can help reunite you and your pet should your dog ever get lost.
7 - Prepare an Emergency Kit for You AND Your Pets.
In the event of a weather emergency, many people are familiar with keeping an emergency kit with food and water for all of the humans of the household. Make sure that you also stock up on food and water for your pets too! If your dog takes daily meds, make sure to have a few extra days of medicine on hand as well.
8 - Use caution with heaters, fireplaces, or wood stoves.
Fence off any heaters, fireplaces, or wood stoves in the home to keep pets away and prevent them getting burned.
9- Be seen!
Winter time means less daylight - make sure that you and your pet can be seen outdoors. There are many different ways to help you and your pet be seen - (reflective vests, flashlights, clip-on blinking lights, lights for dog collars, etc.), but hands down our favorite way to make sure your pet can be seen is the Light Hound, lighted harness, by Nox Gear. Their lighted harness has helped us ensure that our own resident Cheerful Hound, Toby, can be seen anytime it's dark outside. (We use it year-round!) It has lots of color lights settings to choose from and is highly visible from all angles. We've had many people stop their cars when they see us walking to ask where we got the harness since it is so bright and visible! Learn more about them and get your here: https://www.noxgear.com/lighthound
We hope these tips help you and your dog to stay safe, warm, and healthy this winter!
-Amanda and Toby, our Cheerful Hound