Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy and Safe at Home This Winter
Exercise is an important part of your dog’s health and happiness, here are some tips to help you and your dog have more fun during the winter months.
As we saw in our “Home’s Best Friend” commercial, our dogs can’t wait for us to get home and run off some of that pent up energy. But in the Northern states, the winter months can be a challenge for even the most experienced outdoor worrier. Let’s face it, nothing beats a good book and some hot chocolate on a cold snow day. But that really isn’t an option when you have a couple of four legged snow lovers like mine (check out those smiles). To help keep your dog happy and safe this winter, here are a few tips that have helped me and my pups.
Dress for success
When playing outside, try using a sweater or coat to help keep them warm. Extra layers could be mandatory for short-haired breeds, which are even more susceptible to the effects of the cold. Even with a sweater, be careful not to spend too much time outside especially if the wind is blowing. Exposed skin, ears, noses and paws are always at risk of getting frostbite, which can cause permanent damage. When grooming your dog, keeping their coat longer in the winter will provide extra warmth. If you have a long-haired breed, keeping them lightly trimmed can help eliminate clinging ice balls and de-icing chemicals that can dry out their skin.
Protect those paws
Your dog’s pads are very sensitive and can become irritated by salt or other snow melting chemicals. Even if you use pet safe solutions, you can’t control runoff from the roads or what your neighbors may be using. Cleaning your dog’s paws with a damp towel as soon as they get inside is a great habit to get into. This will help keep their paws clean and avoid them licking and digesting those nasty chemicals. I use a cool little wash glove to make the job quick and easy.
Give out some extra treats
Your dog uses a lot of extra energy keeping their bodies warm in the cold. Remember to always keep their bowl full of fresh clean water and give them a little extra at feeding time. They will thank you for it, after all what dog doesn’t like an extra snack here and there?
Shorten play time
Although our little friends may love to spend all day hopping through the snow, someone has to be the voice of reason by limiting their exposure to the harsh conditions. Exercise is an important part of your dog’s health and happiness, so try more frequent but shorter walks and keep that pooch indoors the rest of the time. As an added benefit, after all of that activity and excitement they will definitely be in need of a nice long winter nap.
Finally, if it is too cold for you it is probably too cold for your dog. Use your best judgement and know when it is time for some winter fun or time for that cup of hot chocolate.