As the crisp autumn winds grow cold here in northern Wisconsin, we prepare for the changing seasons by taking our sweaters, coats and scarves out of storage. Although outdoor pets develop thicker coats, they still require your intervention to keep them safe and warm during winter. If you live in a cold weather climate and plan to keep your dog outdoors even part of the time, be aware of the following winter challenges:
For additional warmth, use old blankets as bedding material. Blankets are ideal since they're easy to remove and wash for a clean and dry environment all winter long. Even dogs that are kept partially outdoors in kennels require protection from biting winds. Provide a doghouse or secure a tarp or burlap onto a portion of the kennel to create a windbreak.
Snowballs can be fun unless they are between the toes. Snow collecting between the toes of dogs can be very painful, and if large enough, obstruct blood flow to the toes. Help your pet remove these collections of snow while you are out walking. Dog boots will help eliminate this problem.
Thin ice on lakes is hazardous for people and animals. Keep your pet away from lakes or other bodies of water which may have thin ice.
In the northern United States, remember that snowmobile trails can be dangerous places. Be sure to keep your pets off of the trails.
Ice on walks is not only dangerous for us two-legged creatures, but for our four-legged friends as well. Slipping on the ice is of special concern for older dogs who may already be stiff due to arthritis.
During the cold winter months, many people use space heaters and woodburning stoves. Do not allow unsupervised pets in areas with space heaters which could be bumped over by the pet. Placing a Scat mat or X-Mat Training Mat on the floor may also be helpful in keeping pets away from stoves and heaters.
Be sure to check and clean paws regularly since compacted snow or ice lodged between paw pads can lead to painful sores or frostbite. Perfect Coat Bath Wipes are perfect for between baths or to clean muddy paws. They also come in handy to wipe off salts and other chemical de-icers that burn and irritate paws and gently clean and condition your pet's skin at the same time.
If you have any doubts whether it is too cold to keep your dog outdoors, err on the side of caution and keep her indoors. Shivering is a clear sign that your dog is too cold and indicates the potential onset of hypothermia. Bring your dog indoors if he is shivering. Pay particular attention to older dogs as well as puppies. Older dogs will have special health considerations to address, especially arthritis. The cold can aggravate arthritic conditions and icy ground poses real dangers. Whenever possible, keep older dogs indoors.
Follow these guidelines, and enjoy a safe and happy winter season with your dog.
|Dogs' footpads can be injured by harsh salt or sharp snow crusts. Instead of using ice melters like salt, magnesium, or calcium chloride, which irritate paws and are toxic when ingested, we recommend using a nontoxic ice melter. If your pet has walked on a salty area outside of your property, make sure to wipe off his paws with a moist towel and wait for them to dry before he goes out again.|
Winter-smart products WARM and PROTECT your pet outdoors...