Winterizing Your 4-Legged Family Members
Tips for prepping your pets for cold weather.
Winter is around the corner and you will find your pet needs a little extra care from you. It’s best to be prepared for your four-legged loved ones. Pets need transition time just like us.
Don’t Forget the Feet
Even when it is cold, dogs need regular exercise. Don’t forget about their paws. You can buy booties to protect them and provide better traction for dogs who will tolerate them. Think of them as snow tires for dogs. There can be rock salt and chemical de-icer that can get on their feet. Sharp ice can cut the paws, too. Also as with my Golden retrievers, Dakota and Paige, snow forms ice balls between their pads and it is hard to walk, so trimming the hair between the toes is also a good idea. Keep nails trimmed to maintain solid footing. It is difficult with long nails.
As always, fresh water is important. Summer is long gone, but pets need to hydrate in the winter, too. Keep fresh water for them if they are outside. Make sure it is in a plastic bowl to ensure the dog's tongue does not get stuck to the cold metal. Change the water often to keep it from freezing, or invest in a heated dog water bowl.
Antifreeze tastes good to pets, but even a small amount is lethal. The most likely source of the poison is radiator drainage spots in your garage, which should be flushed with water as soon as you see liquid. A good solution is to buy animal safe antifreeze all the time. If you see your pet licking some, call your vet immediately! Many de-icing and ice-melting products are toxic. Read the labels of any products you use, and store them in tight containers.
If you have your dog groomed short, let the hair grow longer in the winter to keep them warm. They have their own fur coat. Certain breeds that have shorter hair or are naturally lean could use a sweater or jacket to keep them warm. I have always had big hairy dogs so I didn’t give it much thought. Now with my business “4 Legs and a Leash” I deal with all different breeds and see the necessity.
Animals can get frostbite too. Frostbite is a dog’s winter hazard. Tips of tails and tips of ears and the pads are most susceptible. Even brief exposure to sub-zero temperatures can lead to frostbite of the feet, nose or ears. Gently warm the area with a wash cloth and luke-warm water. Watch for swollen paws, pads or ears. If he is frequently licking these areas, you should call your vet immediately.
Winter and Senior Dogs
Remember to be very careful with sick or older dogs, since they are more sensitive to cold weather. For any dog sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself. Arthritic dogs are very sensitive to the cold, too.
Cold weather pet care is a matter of compassion and common sense.
4 Legs and a Leash
Now if you don’t care to walk your dog in the winter give 4 Legs and a Leash a call at 630-915-6912 and I would be happy to help.