According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs are not immune to the cold temperatures. Here are some tips from the experts for keeping your dog safe and warm in the winter.
First and foremost, keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts. And remember that hard-surface flooring – including tile and hardwood – can be very cold, so a pet bed is integral to keeping your dog warm.
Bundle up. Yes, your dog needs to go out, but don’t leave him or her out for long periods of time. As the polar vortex has made us aware this winter, the windchill makes days colder than what the thermometer actually reads.
Like humans, dogs can get frostbite, on their ears, tails and feet. If you must go out, keep it brief and consider canine clothing, especially if your dog has coarse or short hair. While it may seem frivolous, sweaters and coats add a much-needed layer of protection.
Groom your dog. Believe it or not, a well-groomed coat keeps your pet properly insulated. Matted hair does not insulate as well.
Rinse and thoroughly dry your dog’s feet after a walk. Snow is cold and rock salt can irritate your dog’s footpads. Keeping your dog’s paws clean and dry minimizes tiny cuts and cracking. You also can use pet boots for those times outdoors.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Keep those dog bowls full of fresh water. According to the AKC, your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. And, no, snow is not a satisfactory substitute.
Play with your dog. If it’s too cold to go outside for exercise – which it has been in many areas across the US – play with your dog. Running up and down the stairs or a good-old tug-of-war is great for your dog – and for you, too.