Every pet owner knows it’s their job to keep their animals happy, healthy, and safe. While there are things you need to do year-round to keep your dog healthy, there are special dog winter safety tips you need to follow. When the weather gets cold, and the ground gets icy, how do you keep your pup safe?
Dog winter safety: Food
A balanced diet is essential for a healthy dog, but a lot of us like to sneak our pups table scraps as a treat from time to time. Winter is filled with special events and holidays that focus on food, like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. It’s important to make sure that your dog isn’t able to eat any of the harmful food that seems to lie around in excess around the holidays.
One of the more obvious food items to keep out of their reach is chocolate. While your dog can have some carrots, bread, popcorn and even a little bit of cheese, you don’t want to feed them anything that contains:
- Macadamia nuts
- Grapes and raisins
A general rule of thumb, however, is if you’re not sure, don’t risk it.
Dogs tend to eat more in the winter; they burn extra fuel to keep warm. Make sure you’re feeding your pup enough to keep going.
Dog winter safety: Cold weather
Depending on where you live, winter can be anything from chilly to frozen. In any event, be aware of the weather if your dogs primarily live outside or spend a lot of time outside. If you’re not sure if it’s too cold for them, remember if it’s too cold for you, bring them inside.
If you’re feeling like keeping the both of you warm at night, don’t hesitate to bring them into your bed. Typically speaking, it’s good for both you and your sleep, so long as there’s space for you both. It can help your dog sleep well and feel safe.
One of the best ways to stay warm in the winter is cozying up by a fireplace. With any fireplace usage, safety is incredibly important. You want to make sure your fireplace is properly maintained for the safety of your house and the whole family. To keep your dog from getting burned, make sure there’s adequate coverage between them and the fire, like a wire curtain or guard.
Dog winter safety: Snow
Snow can present challenges for your dog’s grooming and care. Whenever you take your dog outside to walk or play in a winter wonderland, make sure their paws are ready for the ice and salt. Protect their feet with a paw salve or gear them up with winter boots. Boots can be tricky; you might need to spend some time getting your dog used to having something on their feet.
After you come home from your outdoor frolic, spend some time tending to their paws. You want to make sure to dry off their paws thoroughly and remove any salt or de-icing chemicals from their paws and fur. Pay particular attention to the spaces between their pads/toes, where things can get stuck. Little balls of snow can also get stuck in their fur (especially long-haired dogs). Work those out as gently as you can to keep their coat healthy. After all, their health and happiness is the goal, no matter the season.
– Noah Rue