Whether you love it or hate it, winter is right around the corner. While you need to take care of yourself and your children this year, you also need to be sure to properly care for your dog. Like you, your dog may love the winter weather and the snow, but they might also prefer to cuddle up on the sofa with a blanket and a hot water bottle. Many people believe that, just because dogs have fur, they can stand the cold a lot easier than humans, but this is simply a misconception. Dogs need to be properly cared for during winter, and here’s how you can do this.
Keep Them Indoors
The last thing you want is for your dog to be outdoors all hours when it’s cold and dark. Your dogs will need exercise during the winter, just like the rest of the year, but unlike the rest of the year, you shouldn’t just let your dogs play in the garden for hours alone. Go outside when they do, and when you feel like you need to come in, bring them in with you.
Walk Them In The Sun
Your dog needs regular walks during the winter, just like every other season. However, if you’re fond of late evening or early morning walks, you should definitely think of another plan. These times of day are far too cold, so make sure to walk your dog when the sun is shining. If they like to play fetch while you’re out, take a ball or a frisbee; Don’t risk injuring them by having them catch sticks.
Wear A Coat
While this applies to you, it may also apply to your dog too. Dogs with thick fur will be kept warm naturally,but if your dog has short fur, then they may require a coat. This should cover from their neck to their tail, and also cover their belly at the same time. However, this won’t protect their feet, ears, or tail, so don’t keep them out for too long.
Don’t Forget Flea Treatment
Fleas can’t live outside during the winter, so lot’s of owners make the mistake of skipping flea treatment when the cold weather strikes. Unfortunately, fleas can still survive in your home during these months, which is why most vets still recommend using flea and tick treatment, such as PetAction, all year around.
Keep Them Hydrated
Your dogs can still dehydrate quickly, even in the winter, so make sure that they have access to fresh water at all times. If your dog is playing outdoors, then make sure that they have a bowl of water available. It may freeze over if it gets too cold, so be sure to break any ice as it forms.
Your dog needs to be hydrated, but so does their skin. The cold weather can dry out and cause as much damage to your dog’s skin as it does to yours, so you need to be sure to moisturize them to prevent their skin from flaking. You can feed your dogs fish and coconut oils as supplements, and apply coconut oil directly to dry paws, tails, or ears.
Be Careful Of Heat
If it’s particularly cold, then your dog is going to want to find somewhere warm to snuggle up. Their first thought is likely to be a space heater or radiator. However, if they lay too close to one of these heaters for too long, they could risk burning themselves, which is the last thing either of you is going to want. Fireplaces are also incredibly dangerous, so you need to be sure that your pet can’t get at any of these heaters.
Keep Out Of Cars
During the summer you are constantly hearing horror stories of dogs being left in cars and getting seriously ill or much, much worse. However, just because it’s not boiling hot, it doesn’t mean that you can leave your dog in your car during winter. The freezing cold weather is just as dangerous, so you should never, under any circumstances, leave your dog unattended in a car. It’s much safer to leave them at home.
Grooming Is Key
Grooming is very important during winter, especially when it comes to your dog’s paws. If your dog has particularly furry feet, you should trim the hair that grows between their toes, to avoid ice building up between them. Make sure to rinse off their paws after walks, as the salt used on sidewalks can burn their paws, and is toxic if they lick it off. You should also ensure that you dry them off properly before letting them outside.
Watch Our For Lakes
Dogs are curious creatures, but with that curiosity comes danger, especially in the winter. If you often walk your dog off a leash, you need to keep a proper eye on where they are going. Ponds and lakes are potentially deadly in the winter, especially if they’re frozen over, as your dog can easily go into shock because of the cold, or get trapped under the ice, so avoid these as much as you can.
As already mentioned, the salt used to keep ice from forming on sidewalks can burn the paws of your pooch and is even more dangerous if ingested. However, this isn’t the only thing that you have to watch out for in winter. Antifreeze is also everywhere, and unfortunately, smells and tastes like a sweet treat to your dog. If they lick or drink even a small amount of it, it could be fatal, so keep your dog away from anywhere that antifreeze may be, such as your garage or shed.
There are a lot of dangers that come with winter, especially for your dog, so you need to take steps to look after them properly. A dog is man’s best friend, so you need to treat them that way, and keep them as safe and warm as you can.