Winterizing your dog

30
April

Winter is on its way and as the temperatures drop, it’s more important than ever to protect your dog from the elements. Many people assume that because a dog wears a permanent fur coat, he’s insulated from temperature drops. Although dogs may suffer less from a drop in temperatures, winter conditions can still take their toll on your best friend unless you take measures to “winterize” your dog. When wind chills drop to near zero, it’s important to protect your dog from hypothermia and, potentially, death. Here are some ways to protect your dog from the elements this winter:

Indoors is better

Although your dog will need to go out for short periods of time in chilly conditions, the time spent outdoors when the temperature is below freezing should be minimized. A short haired dog in particular should have additional protection before being allowed outside. A warm dog sweater or even a child’s size human sweater can be put on a dog before going out in the yard to “do his thing”. If the wind chill is low, short haired dogs can become hypothermic very quickly which is a true medical emergency. Don’t make the assumption that dogs are tougher than humans when it comes to cold weather or that “dogs don’t mind the cold”. It’s up to you to protect your dog.

Protect your dog from antifreeze

Every year thousands of dogs die an untimely and unpleasant death after lapping up antifreeze from garage floors. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that dogs are attracted to and even small amounts of this chemical can kill a dog. Trade in your regular antifreeze for one that doesn’t have ethylene glycol, the poisonous chemical found in standard antifreeze. One of the best known ones is from a company called Sierra.

The outdoor dog

If you have a dog who lives outdoors, this isn’t the ideal situation. If you must keep your dog outside, make sure he has a well insulated dog house with a soft blanket or bedding, preferably one that’s heated. The doghouse you choose should be small enough to protect your dog adequately but large enough for him to turn around comfortably. A doghouse that’s too large will allow too much cold air to circulate. Your dog’s water should be checked frequently to make sure it’s not frozen. Dog’s exposed to cold conditions require more calories so feed your dog generously. Don’t use choke collars on dogs that stay outdoors. Not only is it a choking hazard, the metal on the choke collar can become cold enough to injure your dog’s neck skin. Consider designating a special place inside for your dog when temperatures drop below a certain point, particularly if your dog is older or has a medical condition such as arthritis.

Check your dog’s paws

Cold temperatures, ice, snow, salts, and chemicals can take a toll on your dog’s paws during cold weather. Check your dog’s paws several times a day and remove any ice or salt that’s lodged between the toes. Protect your dog with booties he goes outside in the winter.

Limit car travel

Most dogs love to ride in the car but it’s best to limit this activity in cold weather if you’ll be leaving the car for any period of time. With the heat off, temperatures can drop quickly increasing your dog’s risk of hypothermia. Play it safe and leave your dog at home.

It’s up to you to protect your dog when the temperatures drop. By taking a few common sense precautions, you and your best friend can both get through the winter safely.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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