Monday, January 5, 2015

7 Ways to Protect Your Dog in Cold Weather

Protecting Pets in Cold Weather

You step outside into freshly fallen snow and your dog starts going bananas.  Running in circles and having the time of her life.  Most dogs love snow and do very well in cold weather.  There are some things to keep in mind if you want to enjoy the winter wonderland with your furry love.  

Here are 7 tips for keeping your dog happy and healthy this winter.

 1. In extreme cold, short haired dogs and elderly dogs should wear a coat or sweater.

Most double coated dogs do not need any additional protection from the cold. If your dog appears to be cold or the temperatures are very low, limit outside time.

Here are a few DIY dog coat ideas we found on Pinterest

2. Remove snowballs in the pads of the feet.

The snowballs attach themselves between the toes and can cause cracking, bleeding and hair pulling. This is very uncomfortable for your pet and he will start licking the paws, which makes more snow and ice form. If you notice that your dog has developed the snowballs it's best to end your outdoor activity and head inside to remedy the problem.  Our Bark Park crew recommends using warm water to melt the snow.  

Here are a few other ideas:

3. Never leave your dog in a car during cold weather.

Your car will act like a refrigerator and your dog can die from hypothermia. 

Find out how to recognize hypothermia in dogs here:

4. Check ears, tail and feet for frostbite.

The clinical signs associated with frostbite include:
  • Discoloration of the affected area of skin - this discoloration is often pale, gray or bluish
  • Coldness and/or brittleness of the area when touched
  • Pain when you touch the body part(s)
  • Swelling of the affected area(s)
  • Blisters or skin ulcers
  • Areas of blackened or dead skin
As frostbitten tissues thaw, they may become red and very painful due to inflammation.
For more detailed information about frostbite and how to treat it visit:

5. Avoid contact with anti-freeze, which may be found on driveways, garage floors, etc.  

Anti-freeze is highly poisonous. 1-2 teaspoons can be lethal to a small animal. If the paws come in contact with anti-freeze, licking of paws with anti-freeze on them can cause kidney damage.

6. Rock salt can irritate footpads

Buy pet safe rock salt if it is used near dog areas. Some owners place boots on the dogs to avoid contact with rock salt used when walking outside. Be sure to rinse off the dog’s paws when coming inside to avoid problems with rock salt.

7. If your dog must stay outdoors 

  • Provide a good dog house, not too large, (stand, turn, lie down) preferably straw for bedding, 
  • Elevate the house off the ground.
  • Secure a flap across the opening
  • Provide water.  Electric water dishes are best so the contents do not freeze.
Please check your outside dog when the temperatures become extremely low.  A night or two in the basement or garage can't be that bad if it means saving your dog's life.