Paw-cicles: Keep Your Pup Warm and Happy this Winter by Caley Morris
Yip! Snow’s a comin’! No matter the season, the outdoors is always more enjoyable when you are comfortable; this is true for dogs as well. Here are some tips to help you prepare for winter with your pooch: BUNDLE UP If your pup wasn’t made for a winter wonderland like my Siberian husky, Dan, you will want to protect them with warm clothes. A wide range of fashionable and practical outerwear is available for all breeds no matter what their size. I bet your ears get cold when it’s blustery outside, so remember that your dog is also susceptible to frostbite. If you are cold and need to cover up, chances are your dog is cold too. Take precautions based on the breed, age and health of your dog. Be aware that puppies, elderly and sick dogs are more sensitive to extreme weather conditions.
PROTECT THOSE PAWS Boots are great for keeping paws dry and free of little snowballs between their pads. Footwear can protect your dog from tearing open a pad when playing and running on uneven ice. They also keep hazards like salt from burning their feet or drying out and cracking their pads. Along with salt, windshield washer fluid is another hazardous material you don’t want your dog licking off their paws. Dog boots come in different styles, one type look like balloons that slip over their paws. This is a good option for dogs that don’t like the weight of regular boots. An alternative is protective cream applied to the pads of your dog’s paws. It shields the pads from the elements and prevents drying out. Be sure to read and follow the labels, keeping in mind some of these types of products should not be ingested. As a precaution, wipe paws when your pup comes inside. You wouldn’t want your dog to lick off hazardous residue stuck to the cream. If you must use salt on your walkway, try using a pet safe product, or better yet use sand. Other products offered are made of volcanic ash. A little bit sprinkled onto ice provides extra grip. Although it doesn’t melt away, once the ice is gone it can be swept up and reused.
THINK TRAINING Whether you live in an apartment or have a dog that simply hates the cold, teaching your dog to go to the bathroom on command can come in handy when you have to wait in the cold for your pup to do their business. If your dog pulls when on leash, it could be dangerous for both of you when walking in icy conditions. Consider using a head harness that will prevent pulling. These training aids are based on positive reinforcement when used correctly.
ENJOY WINTER Now that you’re prepared, get ready to run, play, frolic and make snow angels with your pup. Maybe you’ll even catch a few snowflakes on your tongues!