Provide by Jasmine Dyoco October 2017
Keep your dog happy and healthy this winter
Photo by Pixabay – click here
For some dogs, the snow and cold is a winter wonderland, and it’s like the snow has fallen specifically to be his playground. But despite their built-in winter coat, not all dogs take to the extra cold and precipitation.
Some dogs, such as cold-weather breeds — Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, St. Bernards, Chow Chows, German shepherds and the like — are born for cold weather. When the snow falls, you’ll catch them romping in the drifts, eating snowballs and generally having the best time. But other breeds hate it. Like, really, really hate it. If your dog is small or thin, with a thin layer of fur — whippets, dachshunds, greyhounds, Chihuahuas, etc. — then he will need a little extra help to stay warm.
Remember that dogs can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite, just like us. Even if you have a winter-loving guy doesn’t mean he should be left out in the cold. Dogs deserve warm shelter just like humans. If you must leave your dog outdoors, make sure he has a dog house, a screened porch or somewhere he can curl up in some warm blankets. There are also heated pet pads you can buy that will keep him warm without getting too
Older dogs and puppies will be more vulnerable to the cold, as well as small dogs and dogs with health conditions, so limit their time outside and keep a close eye on them. Also, watch them closely when they’re in the garage or out for a walk because they may encounter antifreeze, which is extremely toxic and tastes sweet to dogs. The Humane Society of the U.S. estimates 10,000 dogs and cats per year are killed by ethylene glycol poisoning.
Be cautious of ice melt, and try to buy the pet-safe versions. It’s commonly used to melt the ice on roads, porches and walkways, but it can irritate your dog’s paws. After a walk, even if you don’t encounter ice melt, it’s a good idea to wipe your pooch’s paws because he could his paws and get sick from residue you didn’t see. To make sure his paws are safe, consider getting him some snow boots. It seems silly, but there are a wide variety on the market and can help protect his little toes.
A warm fire can be delightful after playing in the snow, but be careful, as your dog could burn his fur, paws or tail. Don’t leave him alone in the room with a fire, or if you must, use a secure screen. Space heaters can be dangerous if left alone with a dog, too: they can be tipped over and cause a house fire.
A sweater or jacket for your dog will help, but it isn’t a cure-all. Dogs lose most of their heat from their breathing, their paws and their ears. Don’t let your dog walk on frozen ponds or puddles. No matter how thick the ice may seem, it can always break — and your dog doesn’t know to avoid the thin areas. Thin ice is as dangerous for your dog as it is for you.
If your dog is elderly or has arthritis, the cold weather will likely cause joint pain, so be especially mindful. When your arthritic dog goes outside, be careful of him slipping on ice, which can be especially painful and injurious. Most importantly, make sure your arthritic dog has a soft bed to lie on. He might need help getting up and down from his bed. Talk to your vet about good arthritis medication to help him feel better.
Winter can be a great time to have fun with your dog, but know his or her limitations. Every dog is different and can tolerate