As temperatures drop outside, it’s important to protect your furry friends from the elements. There are several risk factors for pups when it’s freezing out, so it’s imperative to prepare before you’re caught off guard. Fall is the nice in-between time when you start switching out your closet and decor, so take this time to ensure your dog enjoys the change of seasons as much as you do. Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe as it gets chilly out!
1. Protect the Paws
As sidewalks start to freeze over, there will be lots of salt out and about on your daily walks. Make sure to rinse off and wipe down your pup’s paws after a walk to prevent any cracks or incessant licking on the pads of their feet. Additionally, longer walks or hikes may require footwear to prevent frostbite and ensure your dog enjoys your outing!
2. Avoid Antifreeze
Antifreeze is highly toxic to dogs and unfortunately it’s also sweet, so dogs are interested in tasting it. Just a small amount of ingestion can result in kidney damage. Be very cautious of any car spills or strange spots your dog wants to lick outside. To be safe, you can use a less toxic alternative that uses propylene glycol, which is biodegradable and has a taste that isn’t as enticing to pets, instead of ethylene glycol found in traditional antifreeze products.
3. Break out the Sweaters
Small and short-haired dogs may need an extra layer to help maintain a healthy body temperature. There are tons of sweaters and waterproof jackets (some of which are pretty dang adorable) on the market, so you’ll have plenty to choose from. You should also limit outdoor activities during extreme weather conditions as windchill can be very dangerous for dogs, especially on exposed skin on their noses, bellies and ears.
4. Limit Grooming
During the winter months, try to bathe your pups less as it’s more difficult for them to return to a normal body temperature after getting wet, and never shave down their coats. A little extra dog hair around the house is a small price to pay for keeping your pup cozy and warm, plus you’ll still want to brush them regularly to distribute natural oils on their skin, which will help prevent shedding!
5. Feed them More
Dogs tend to burn more energy trying to stay warm for the next few months, so you may want to consider giving them more food at mealtimes or adding supplements to their normal meals to ensure they’re eating enough and receiving proper nutrition.
6. Avoid Dry Skin
Before heading out on a walk, try rubbing your pup’s paws with petroleum jelly to avoid dry and cracked paw pads. It’s like Chapstick for your doggie’s feet! Stop their coats from getting dry and itchy as well by supplementing mealtime with K9POWER’s Show Stopper supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and E for a healthy, moisturized and beautiful coat. Your dog will love the taste too, so it’ll promote healthy eating habits as well. Keeping your home humidified may also help as the conditions from inside to outside won’t be as drastic.
7. Cuddle Up
Make sure your pup has a warm place to sleep! Even if you don’t want your furry friends in your own bed, make sure they have dog beds of their own that are safely out of the reach of drafts. You can even throw an old blanket in there for good measure!
8. Report Irresponsible Pet Owners
If you see animals that are left outside when you think the conditions are unsafe, try to reach the owner to express your concern politely. If the owner is not receptive to your concerns, document as many details as possible (time, date, location, type of animal, photo and video) and report the incident to your local animal control agency or police department.
9. Indoor Exercise
To make up for spending less time outside, try to incorporate exercise into your indoor routine! Try playing fetch, tug-of-war or good old fashioned puppy wrestling inside to make sure your dog’s muscles don’t start to deteriorate.
10. Stay Out of the Car
It’s well known that a hot car can be extremely hazardous for an animal, but cold cars can be just as damaging as the temperature inside drops very quickly. Never leave your dog out in the car during extreme temperatures!