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10 Winter Safety Tips for Dogs

It’s cold outside and your dog wants to run and play in the snow. What does a dog owner do to keep his dog happy as well as safe during the winter season? There are a variety of things you can do to allow your dog to enjoy the weather as well as keep him or her safe. The following safety tips will guide you on your journey to surviving winter with your dog.

  1. Stay Indoors: When those temperatures start dropping, bring your dog indoors. Create a cozy spot with a warm dog bed and blankets that your dog can call his or her own.
  2. Dress Your Dog for the Occasion: Provide your dog with a sweater or winter coat and boots to protect him or her from the elements. This is especially essential to the well-being of your dog if you have a small toy-breed or a dog with a short coat.
  3. Take Brisk Walks: You will want to make the most out of walking your dog in winter weather. Your focus will be on lessening the time of the walk but making the walk count. To achieve this task you will want to take your dog on a short walk, but at a higher pace than usual. This will allow your dog to get the exercise he or she needs to remain healthy.
  4. Increase Food Serving Size: Your dog’s body is working at a faster pace to keep warm and survive the cold weather. This means you will want to increase the amount per serving to help keep his or her body running at its best. If you see that your dog is gaining weight rapidly, lessen the portion size accordingly.
  5. Beware of Cracked Paws: While you may provide warm boots for your dog, there are those dogs that prefer to run barefoot in the snow. In this case you will want to inspect your dog’s paws frequently for dryness, cracks and irritation. Rubbing special balm for dog pads before and after outings will help keep the paws protected.
  6. Beware of Antifreeze: Antifreeze spillage is a common sight during the winter months. Make sure you clean up any spills that are in the path or area where your dog can reach it.
  7. Be on the Look-Out for Frostbite: As temperatures drop frostbite becomes more of a risk for dogs. This condition develops when the body is trying to keep the blood in the core of the body, therefore lessening blood supply to the extremities such as the tail, ears and nose.
  8. Provide a Doghouse: If your dog prefers to spend most of his or her day outdoors in the cold weather make sure you provide an insulated dog house with plenty of blankets for them to keep warm. Always check on your dog frequently throughout the day to assure they are not too cold. Dogs should always be brought indoors during harsh weather conditions such as snow storms.
  9. Keep Your Dog Dry: Chances are after playing or walking outdoors in the snow or wet weather your dog will get his or her fur wet. Dry your dog off immediately with towels and use a hair dryer to assure that the area is dry. Common areas that get wet are the stomach and legs.
  10. Fireplace Safety: While indoors your dog will seek out the warmest and coziest place in the house. This location is usually in front of the fire place. Always keep a screen in front of the fire place to prevent your dog from trying to play with the fire or accidentally get to close.

These 10 tips to keeping your dog safe will come in handy every winter. Always be prepared ahead of time with a winter wardrobe, plenty of food and patience for the winter season. Allowing your dog to live indoors during winter is an essential part to their survival during harsh weather conditions. Always be sure to provide a safe, warm and comfortable place for your dog. Photo credit: Norlando Pobre/Flickr

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Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.