Safety Tips for your Dog in the Winter

Winters in various parts of the country can be brutal. Temperatures can go from a sunny 60 degrees to a snowy 40 degrees. As unbearable as it may seem for us, it is even worse for our furry best friends. Dogs are too often left outside in the frigid temperatures with no second thoughts about their safety. This situation should never occur. If you ever notice a dog left outside without appropriate shelter and water, please notify the authorities right away. We never want to see this happen. In order to better equip you as a pet owner for the winter months, here are some tips on keeping your furry friend protected and safe during the harsh winter months.

Keeping Your Dogs Safe Outside

Inside is always preferable, but if leaving your dog inside for an extended amount of time is just not an option, make sure to at least provide your pet the best care possible. Here are some tips on how to keep Fido safe while he’s outside.

  • Provide a warm shelter that is dry and protected from drafts.
  • In many places, state laws regulate what type of shelter outside dogs need to have. Be sure to always comply with those. Mainly, as the tip suggests, dogs need to have a clean shelter that will protect them from the elements and keep them dry.
  • Fit them with clothes like waterproof jackets, sweaters, booties, hats, to protect them from cold and frostbite.
  • Salt on the ground is also hazardous to dogs’ delicate paws, so be sure to suit them with booties before having them walk around on the snowy ground.
  • Petroleum jelly is a good protection element from the salt on the ground. It also helps with healing their dry or cracked skin.
  • Know your dog’s health. Certain health problems and diseases such as thyroid issues, make some dogs more prone to winter-weather dangers.

Keeping Your Dog Fed Well in the Winter

There are just a few slight changes that should be made in regards to dog diets in the winter months. They are as follows:

  • Keep their water fresh and cycled often. Always make sure dog’s waters don’t have any frozen chunks, or worse, frozen over completely.
  • They need more food if they’re outside. Feeding them a bit more during this season helps them with energy, warmth, and internal food storage.
  • Don’t let them eat snow. In the snow they’re gulping down, there could be hidden hazards or the amount of snow could upset their stomach.

Maintaining Pet Playtime in the Cold

Ceasar Milan offers some great exercise and playing options for when it’s freezing outside. Just because it is cold and snowy outside, does not mean dogs don’t need the same amount of exercise and stimulation as in the warmer months. Here are a few of Ceasar’s ideas for excersise and play during the cold season.

  • Hide and seek: An idea for getting hide and seek with your dog started is to simply, “Start by throwing a treat to get her to go away from you, and then hide in another part of the house,” suggests Cesar.
  • Dog treadmills and indoor walking: Dogs can use human treadmills to take their daily walks. Be sure to start them out slow while they are getting accustomed to the machine, so injury and anxiety is avoided.
  • Doggy classes: There are all sorts of dog classes you can enroll your dog in that has many benefits such as, “allowing your dog to socialize and boosting her mental agility by learning something new,” according to Ceasar.
  • Playing in the snow: Big dogs especially enjoy playing in the snow. Since it is so tough to trot around in, they get more exercise in a shorter amount of time. Make sure to follow our other safety tips to keep your dog safe in the snow.

Keeping your Dog Groomed Appropriately

Special grooming practices during the winter can work wonders in protecting your pet from the harsh elements. Below are a few general tips for making sure your grooming is winter-friendly.

  • Keep their coat long
  • Bathe them minimally: Dogs build up oils on their skin that both help them from the cold and from getting dry, chapped, cracked skin. Bathing them too often in winter or any season strips their skin of these built up oils.
  • Make sure they’re completely dry before going outside if you do bathe them. Any excess water can freeze on them or cause hypothermia. Both can be avoided by simply making sure they are thoroughly dry before releasing them outside.
  • Take special care of their paws. If they come inside from being outside, make sure to clean their paws, ears, and tails of any residual snow. The trapped snow will create excess moisture, which can be harmful.

Further reading on cold weather safety:
Ceasar’s Winter Exercises: