Winter can be a beautiful and magical time. After all, ‘Winter Wonderland’ is a popular song for a reason. Snow covered parks and windswept flurries are beautiful to look at, but winter also presents its own set of dangers, which is why it’s important to protect your pets during this time of the year. Below, you’ll find a list of seven ways to keep your dog warm and safe this winter season.
Keep Dogs Sheltered
As the temperatures plummet, it’s important that your dog’s time outside is limited. Your daily walks might need to be shortened, and you should never subject your pet to the elements by leaving him outside. Snow, frigid rain, and windchill all present dangers to your dog’s health and overall well-being. If you have outdoor dogs, and are unable to bring them inside during the winter season, invest in winter-proof shelter that will keep your pup warm and dry on even the coldest nights.
Bundle Your Dog Up
During the winter season, you likely wear lots of layers, bundle up in a coat, and wear mittens and boots to protect your hands and feet. You should dress your dog for the elements in similar fashion. If your dog has long hair and loves the cold, it might not be necessary to put him in a sweater, but short haired dogs need the extra layer of protection that dog coats can give. You should also get your pup some winter boots. Your dog’s paw pads are sensitive and can be easily damaged during the winter season, becoming dry and cracked in the same way your hands and feet do.
In addition to the cold weather and lack of humidity, snow, ice, and winter salt are also potential dangers to your pup’s paws. The best way to protect him during walks is to bundle him up in cozy boots. If you choose not to use boots, you should wipe his paws every time you come back inside. Wiping his paws will remove any snow or ice fragments that got caught in his hair or between his paw pads, and will prevent him from licking salt that could be poisonous.
Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car
You’ve heard that you shouldn’t leave your dog in a hot car, but the same is true for a cold one. During the winter, without the heater, your car reaches temperatures that aren’t safe for your pup. Leaving your pup in a running car isn’t much safer, since it puts your pup at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s always safest to leave your dog at home when you go grocery shopping or run errands.
Provide Cozy Bedding
Make sure your pup doesn’t get too cold during the night by providing him with adequate bedding. If he doesn’t sleep with you, he should have access to a thick dog bed. You could also purchase an elevated bed that puts even more distance between your pup and the cold wood or tile floor. Heated beds are another popular choice this time of year. Not only do they keep your furry friend nice and cozy, but they can help relieve stiff joints that can occur during the colder months.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Just because it’s not sweltering hot outside doesn’t mean your dog can’t become dehydrated. It’s just as common a problem during the winter as it is during the summer. You should provide fresh water to your dog at all times, but it’s especially important after your pup comes in from a walk.
Pick Your Play Time Wisely
During the winter months, you should try to schedule outings, such as trips to the dog park or walks around the neighborhood, for hours with the most sunlight. Spending time outdoors when the sun is shining will increase your pup’s vitamin D and provide an extra bit of warmth.
Protect Your Dog from Burns
During the winter, your dog will do whatever he can to keep warm. His desire for warmth might cause him to seek out unsafe sources of heat. Fireplaces present a very real danger to dogs, so make sure you dog-proof the area before lighting any fires. Also, avoid using space heaters, since dogs can come too close and burn themselves.
Dogs look to their humans for safety and protection. Their lives are literally in your hands. And, while you’re responsible for your dog’s well-being all year round, it’s important to take extra steps to keep him safe and happy during the winter season.