TIPS FOR WEATHER-PROOFING OUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS
Winter for most people means colder weather and that it’s time to get the family ready for braving the elements.
While you are gathering up the mittens, extra layers and warm beverages for the kids, don’t forget to prepare the furry members of the household too! Many dog owners may assume their much-loved pets come with a ready-made fur coat so winter is not a big deal, but this isn’t always the case.
According to The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, dogs can actually fall victim to a variety of winter-related health issues, including hypothermia, frostbite, dry skin, injuries and poisoning.
Explore these helpful hints to keep the furry members of the house safe and happy this winter.
Gear the pups up for the weather.
While their fur is helpful in keeping them warm, even man’s best friend needs a boost in really cold weather.
If you can imagine just wearing a fur coat without anything else to protect exposed skin, it gives you a good idea about what the family pet faces outside.
A doggy sweater, something to protect their paws from harsh elements outside, and even a warm towel to dry off once they come inside can go a long way to keep them warm.
For dogs that are normally outdoors the majority of the time, having an insulated dog house with dry bedding is very important. While it may seem like a great idea to bring an outdoor dog into the garage for shelter, sleeping on a cold cement floor doesn’t offer much of a buffer from the cold.
Whether the dog sleeps inside or out, bedding or a dog bed that insulates their body from the ground is a key to helping maintain body temperature. Be aware of environmental hazards.
Dogs are often curious by nature, which can mean they get themselves into dangerous situations. A chilled puppy looking for heat may get burned by a space heater or a flame in a fireplace without a pet-friendly screen.
Beloved winter items like electric blankets can become a life-threatening hazard if the family dog chews on the cord.
Even something as simple as an iced-over pond can be dangerous for a puppy who isn’t aware that the ice may break.
Beyond these household items that can be dangerous for dogs, poisons may become more prominent in households during the winter.
A rain puddle mixed with antifreeze can be deadly for a dog even though the chemicals smell and taste sweet.
De-icing chemicals can be rough on a dog if consumed or on their skin if it comes into contact with them. Even chocolate can be deadly for dogs.
Extra grooming for winter…The Humane Society cautions dog owners to take special care in regards to grooming for cold weather.
While it may be easier to have the family dogs trimmed or shaved to avoid shedding, this can leave them too cold. Leave their hair longer in the winter to keep them warm, and always make sure they are fully dried after a bath before going outside. Include checks for skin irritation and cracked paw pads as a part of daily grooming.
When coming in from outside, something as simple as drying off a wet belly and brushing snow out of fur can help them from getting too cold. For skin concerns, coconut oil works as either a food additive or topically.
Winter can be a time for family gatherings, creating amazing memories and time with family that includes our four-legged fur babies. Keeping the entire family safe and healthy – including the family dog – only adds to the season.
A little bit of careful planning and some proactive prevention can turn even the most timid pup into a snow bunny in no time.
Edited by: Jan Mitchell
Written by Patricia Sarmiento
Positing is done with the permission of Donna Curtin of the Boston Terrier Network — full of Boston Terrier and canine information, news, and adoptables. Copyright © 2018. Boston Terrier Network.