10 Tips On Keeping Your Dog Safe During The Winter
Winter is here, and while millions of us around the country begin to bundle up against inclement weather, it’s important not to forget the needs of our four-legged furry friends. Just like when it comes to us humans, the winter can can pose dangerous threats to dogs and pets in general.
Here are ten winter safety tips for dogs to protect your pet during the winter season:
1. Pay Attention to Your Dogs Skin
Make sure that you are keeping an eye on the condition of your dog’s skin and paws. In dry, cold conditions, dog’s paws and skin typically dry out and are susceptible to cracking as well as other areas of your dog’s skin. Make sure that you pick up some natural moisturizer in order to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
There is also the option of getting dog boots and/or paw protectors to ensure the safety of your dog’s paws. Lastly, make sure that your dog stays well hydrated and has access to plenty of water.
2. Double-down on Flea Prevention
If you typically find yourself having a year-round flea problem, it turns out that winter is the best time to fight fleas due to low humidity levels which typically tends to slow their development down.
Winter is the perhaps the most opportune time in terms of seasons to mount an offensive and implement some natural flea remedies to decimate their populations.
3. Limit Outdoor Play
As obvious as this tip is, you’d be surprised at the number of dogs left outside to freeze to death by irresponsible owners. Often times, we have the misconception that dogs are less susceptible to the cold due to their fur. This perception can often lead to dangerous consequences.
While there are most certainly some dog breeds that fare better in extreme cold conditions, most dog owners don’t happen to have those particular breeds. Dogs aren’t immune to frostbite, hypothermia, or any of the other dangerous cold weather conditions that plague us humans.
Limit the amount of time your dog spends outside.
4. Be Careful With the Antifreeze
Antifreeze, as you should very well know, is highly toxic. It’s also sweet to taste, which you could imagine, might be of a dog's interest. Antifreeze could cause a slew of health issues if enough of it is ingested.
According to the Humane Society, up to 10000 cats and dogs die each year from exposure to antifreeze. It’s important that you keep your dog away from areas where antifreeze might be used (i.e. garages, driveways, etc. etc.).
5. Avoid Leaving Your Dog Unattended Inside of a Car
We always here the dreadful story of people who got into their cars (typically in their garages), turned on the engine, passed out, and never woke up again. Sad stories like these happen too often during the winter months.
Carbon monoxide poisoning takes the lives of hundreds each year, and it can be as equally dangerous for your dog as it is for you. It is important to never leave your dog inside of a running vehicle parked inside of garage unattended.
6. Cut Back On the Baths
This correlates to the aforementioned point that was made about the dangers of drying out your dog’s skin. Bathing excessively in dry weather conditions could remove the essential oils from your dog’s skin, causing more dryness.
Either make bathing more infrequent during the winter months, or pick up some dog wash that also acts as a moisturizer.
7. Protect Your Dog from Heaters
While heaters bring a very much well welcomed respite of the cold, they can prove to cause serious injury to your dog. Make sure that your dog does not have direct access to any heaters you have laying around the house.
If you are in the market for a pet friendly heater, make sure that it has pet-friendly features. This includes heaters that are made from material that make them cool to touch when operating, and generally avoid overheating.
8. Provide Adequate Bedding and Covering
You wouldn’t want to sleep on a hard cold floor during the winter months, would you? Of course not, so why does your dog have to?
Make sure that you provide your dog with an adequate dog bed or some other type of bedding and covering that provides a degree of warmth from the floor and surrounding environment.
9. Avoid Excessive Overfeeding
You want to avoid overfeeding your dog in the winter months. Many dog owners make the mistake of overfeeding during the winter. The fact of the matter is that your dog most likely won’t be in need of extra calories due to a increase in inactivity (i.e. your dog spending more time in doors).
There is also a belief prevalent among dog owners that dogs are in need of extra fat during the winter months. But again, if your dog is going to become more inactive day to day, there is no need to layer on extra pounds.
Continue to feed your dog a nutritious diet, with the same frequency you’ve fed him/her year round.
10. Be Mindful of Your Dogs Age
It’s important to be cognizant of your dog’s age, as that will be a major factor when it comes to threshold tolerance of cold weather. Older dogs are more susceptible to arthritis, so it’s important to provide extra warmth in order to aid joint health.
On the flip side, young dogs have a hard time regulating body warmth. This makes them more vulnerable to extreme weather changes. You want to get puppies and older dogs inside more often during the winter months.
Well, that’s it. 10 actionable tips you can implement to keep your dog safe throughout the winter. While you can most certainly conjure up others, I think that these are the biggest and the most implementable for your average dog owner. Putting the tips above into practice will help ensure that your pup stays relatively safe throughout the winter.
About the Author: Mike Griffin is a writer at pawsplaygrounds and a lover of all things involving dogs. Chief of his interest concern dog health, nutrition, and behavior.