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Winter Weather Tips to Keep Your Dog Active and Safe in the Cold

Depending on your location, winter can be a chilly time of year. When the temperature drops, it can be a challenge and a balancing act to keep your dog both active and safe from the cold.

If your pup is overexposed to freezing temperatures, they can suffer from depression, lethargy, weakness, and in extreme cases, hypothermia. As a result, it’s important to keep your furry friend safe from the cold during the winter months. For example, in the case of severe freezing weather, skip the long walk for the day and just let them out in the backyard to do their business.

Take a look at our other tips for keeping your dog comfortable during the winter months:

  1. If, for some reason, your dog can’t come into the house, it’s imperative to provide adequate shelter for them, such as an insulated dog house. Also consider using straw for bedding instead of blankets, since straw doesn’t freeze when it gets wet like a blanket does.
  2. If you have your dog outside, ensure that their food and water has not frozen. It’s also a good idea to use plastic rather than metal bowls, so that your pup’s tongue doesn’t get stuck.
  3. To help with overall nutrition, provide your dog with essential fatty acids to help thicken their fur and boost their immune system. You can also maintain their joints by supplementing glucosamine. Talk to your veterinarian about creating a diet that will help your dog stay healthy all year round!
  4. If your dog doesn’t have a thick coat, bundle them up in a jacket or sweater to protect them from the cold weather while on walks.
  5. In addition to a jacket, purchase boots for your dog’s paws. If your dog won’t wear the boots, make sure to wash their paws after walks, as their paws may become irritated and even split and bleed from salt on the roads.
  6. With the cold weather approaching, out comes the antifreeze! Keep it high up on shelves out of the reach of your dog, and make sure to wipe up any spills. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that attracts animals, but drinking it can be deadly.
  7. It’s always a good idea to have a winter wellness appointment with your veterinarian. The harsh elements of winter can bring on arthritis in pets, especially in certain breeds and senior dogs. Having a prevention check allows you to protect your dog’s joints through your vet’s recommendations.
  8. Exercise is still important! During the winter months, it might be wise to stay indoors and skip the walk on days where the temperature is especially low. In those cases, exercise indoors! Play some fetch in the basement, give your dog a food puzzle to work out, or train them to walk on the treadmill!
  9. When you are walking outside, keep an eye out for ice!  Slipping on ice can cause major issues for dogs, including bone breaks, fractures, or torn ligaments. It’s also helpful to keep those nails trimmed for better traction on slippery surfaces.
  10. Dogs still become thirsty during walks in the winter, and they might be inclined to drink from a puddle or eat some snow. Try to prevent your dog from doing this as the water or snow could contain various chemicals that can make your dog sick.

Winter weather brings some challenges with it. But with some vigilance and preparation, you can make the winter months both safe and active for your pup!

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Posted on Dec 16, 2015 by VOYCE Health
Vets & Experts