Dogs enjoy playing in the snow but exposure to the season’s dry and cold air can spell trouble for your pet. But do not fret! Caring for dogs in the winter is not as hard as you think.
Chapped paws and dry skin are some of the common problems dogs encounter during the winter. But there are other dangers that lurk during the season. Frostbite, hypothermia, and toxic ice-melting agents are some them.
Here are some helpful tips to take good care of dogs in the winter.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #1: Trim Your Dog’s Hair
Trim your dog’s coat if it is long. This helps minimize the number of ice balls and salt crystals that could cling to his fur while he plays in the snow. Never shave your dog’s fur down to the skin. Your dog needs his coat well-groomed to keep himself cool yet insulated from harsh temperatures.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #2: Put A Sweater on Short-Coated Dogs
If your dog has a short coat, a turtleneck sweater can help keep him warm during the winter. Make sure to put it on him before letting him out. A good doggie sweater should provide coverage from the neck to the base of the tail. It must also cover your dog’s belly.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #3: Walk Your Dog When the Sun is Out
Some dogs hesitate to go outside when it is too cold. If your pet is one of those dogs, try to walk him when the sun is already out and the temperature is a little warmer. Late morning and early afternoons are the best time to walk your dog and take him to the park during winter.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #4: Protect your dog’s paws
You can use petroleum jelly to protect your dog’s paw pads from salt and ice melts. Massage it on your dog’s paws before taking him out in the snow to prevent irritation.
Doggie boots, on the other hand, can provide your dog better paw coverage. This is the better option if your dog does not mind wearing doggie boots.
If you use ice melts in your yard, please choose a brand or variant that is safe for pets.
Do not forget to clean your dog’s paws after walking in the snow. Wash and dry your dog’s paws and belly when you get home. Never forget to check your dog’s skin, belly, and paws for cracks or irritation.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #5: Humidify Your Home
Humidity levels naturally drop as the cold comes in. This causes dry air, which then takes moisture from your dog’s skin as well as yours.
Use humidifiers to prevent this from happening. The device puts moisture back into the air. This prevents the skin from becoming dry, itchy, and flaky.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #6: Keep the Fireplace and Heat Sources Secure
With the temperature dropping, your dog is most likely try to hang out where he feels warm. Keep your fireplace secure by installing pet gates, fireplace screen, or glass doors. This should stop your dog from getting too near to the fire and catch fire. It is also best to keep an eye on your dog whenever he is in a room with a fireplace.
Clear the area around the hearth. Things could get knocked over especially when there are dogs and young children around. For this reason, putting away anything flammable within the area is a good idea.
Accidents happen no matter how hard you try to keep your home safe. Have a working fire extinguisher ready to help you put out the fire quickly and safely.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #7: Bathe Your Dog Only When It’s Necessary
If it’s too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog. But how often should we bathe dogs in the winter?
A monthly bath is typically enough for dogs during the winter. Lesser is better unless you live in an area where it can get really muddy or if your dog is suffering from a skin condition that requires him to bathe every now and then. Still, there are some precautions you must take when bathing dogs in the winter and here are some.
- Choose a mild and moisturizing after bath to keep your dog’s skin from drying out and flaking.
- You may choose to apply virgin coconut oil on your dog’s coat to moisturize his skin.
- Bathe him in lukewarm water.
- Dry your dog immediately after a bath. Make sure to dry his whole body especially his ears and in between his paws.
- Blow drying your dog is recommended if he has long hair. Make sure that the blow dryer is at least 12 inches away from your dog to prevent burning his skin.
- If your dog isn’t suffering from skin issues, consider using a dry shampoo instead.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #8: Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Make sure to make clean water available for your dog at all times. Dogs need water no matter what season. Most dogs burn extra energy by trying to stay warm during the season. This can lead to dehydration at times.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #9: Make Sure Your Dog Feels Warm Enough
Get a comfortable bed and a soft blanket for your dog. Place his beddings in a warm room, perhaps near a vent or a few meters away from the fireplace.
Caring for Dogs in the Winter Tip #10: Keep Your Dog Indoors
It is best to keep your dog indoors during the winter. Dogs need to keep warm too despite having coat and fur.
We understand that some dog owners do not have a choice but to keep their outside. Some owners cannot keep their dogs inside their homes due to rent regulations, allergies, and more.
If your dog stays outdoors, make sure he has an insulated dog house to protect him from the harsh weather.
Barns and garage also make good shelters for dogs. Just make sure to put any toxic substance out of your dog’s reach.