We protect our homes and our cars, but we often forget that we must also protect our dogs by getting our dogs winter ready.
Use these tips before the snow flies again this year to keep your dog safe and warm.
Wind chill is a serious issue, especially for dogs who stay outdoors during the winter. If your dog stays outdoors, make his enclosure dog winter ready by ensuring the opening to the dog’s enclosure faces away from the wind. If it doesn’t, cover it.
The enclosure should only be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down again.
A dog’s body heat will help warm his space, but if the area is too big, it ends up robbing the dog of that body heat.
While it is smart to bring the dog inside during cold weather, a small percent of dogs are not comfortable inside, and need reinforced enclosures.
Food and water
An outdoor dog needs to have a heated water bowl to keep the water from freezing.
Dogs also must eat protein-based food in the winter to help replenish energy lost in keeping the body
Check your dogs water and food supply often to make sure the dog does not get dehydrated or undernourished.
Dogs are at an equal risk of falling ill in the winter due to lack of water as they are in the summertime.
As with humans, dogs get dry skin from the dry air in the home during the winter months.
Help your dog avoid the risk of scratching and biting that causes hot spots by caring for the dog’s skin.
Brush the dog regularly and use an oatmeal-based shampoo to help moisturize the skin. A fatty acid
food supplement might also help keep skin from drying out.
Make sure all animals are kept away from chemicals that might poison them.
A dog kept in the garage might find the antifreeze, for example, and consume it because it smells sweet. Avoid this issue by making sure the car isn’t leaking, by keeping the animal enclosed away from the car, or by purchasing ethylene glycol free antifreeze. Ethylene glycol is the agent that makes the antifreeze taste sweet to dogs.
However it’s always a good idea to keep your dog away from all chemicals and vehicles when he or she is staying in the garage during the cold winter weather.
Also be sure to keep any eye out for ice melt crystals left on slick sidewalks. The chemicals in the crystals can cause a reaction and burn your dog’s paws.