Freezing winter temperatures mean bundling up. We dress our children in warm winter coats, boots, hats, and gloves but often neglect the comfort of our pets who also feel the bite of chilly weather.
When taking your dog out for its daily walk, it’s important to protect them from the elements, especially in the winter months. Below are some helpful tips you can employ to ensure your pet’s comfort and safety during the coldest season of the year.
Time Your Walks
Winter days are cold, however, you can avoid the coldest times of the day by not going on walks too early in the morning or after sunset.
Your dog will still need to be taken on walks every day but be aware that certain parts of their body such as their paws, ears, and tails are particularly susceptible to frostbite. It is best to limit the amount of time you spend outdoors with your dog and walk for shorter periods to help them acclimate to the colder conditions.
Protect Your Dog’s Paws
Your dog’s paws are tough, but they can still be at risk of frostbite and become dry, chapped, or cracked. You can protect their paws and offer them warmth by putting on some dog booties when going on walks. In addition to the elements, footwear for your pet will also protect their claws and add traction that will avoid any slips and falls from ice, saving you a trip to the veterinary clinic.
Once indoors, check your dog’s paws for salt, grit, and debris from the road. This can be more of an issue with long-haired dogs as the material can get stuck between their toes which can cause sores and painful cuts. Trimming the hair between their toes can prevent this.
Wrap Them Up
When on walks outside consider wrapping your pet up in small dog winter clothes to keep them warm. This will help them to regulate their body temperature and also shield their fur and skin from the harsh elements. A coat or sweater can be especially beneficial for dogs that have finer coats such as Greyhounds or Jack Russels as they can provide an extra layer of insulation in the winter.
When selecting their clothing it’s important to find the right size to ensure your dog is comfortable in their outfit. Make sure to take their chest measurement as this is key for a correct fit and will help you determine the right size to choose. A good tip is to look for some wiggle room in their neck and chest area to avoid clothing that is overly tight or restrictive.
Use a Leash
Along with the cold temperatures, the winter months can present some hazards for your dog so it is advisable to keep them on a leash during walks.
Avoid frozen bodies of water such as lakes and ponds as it can be difficult to tell if the surface is safe for your dog to tread on. A leash will prevent them from jumping onto the ice and falling through into the freezing water. Dogs are also at risk of being hit by snowplows and other motorists due to poor visibility in winter.
Follow these three tips to keep your dog happy and warm during the winter.
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