Your pet can’t read or understand a thermometer that reads 25 degrees – they still want to get outdoors, even on the coldest day of the winter season! While we’re almost through the worst of the winter, sporadic storms can still present themselves at a moment’s notice. Keep your dog safe from the cold this winter with these tips and tricks.
- Understand your dog’s limits. If your dog is small in stature or has a thin coat, they can get cold more quickly than larger dogs. As such, limit the amount of time they spend outdoors in the winter. The same goes for elderly dogs. Too much exposure to the cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia. In general, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog.
- Wipe your dog’s paws. During the winter, harmful chemicals from salt, antifreeze, and other de-icing materials cover the streets and sidewalks in your neighborhood. After you return from a winter walk, it’s important to wipe your dog’s paws with a damp cloth or towel to remove any residue left from these harmful chemicals. When you’re wiping, examine their paws for cracks or cuts from the cold.
- Use a leash. More pets are lost during the winter than any other time of the year. Snow, ice, and rain can disguise scents your dog would otherwise recognize and use to help get them back home. Keeping your dog on a leash will prevent them from wandering too far. Similarly, make sure your dog’s tags are up to date with your contact information. If they do wander off, proper tags will help ensure they make it back to you.
- Wear protective gear. In extremely cold temperatures, you’ll wear an extra layer or two to keep warm – why shouldn’t your dog? Adorn your dog with a pet-friendly jacket to help trap their body heat and keep them cozy. If you’re walking in the dark, equip your dog and yourself with reflective gear so that passing vehicles will take notice of your presence.
- Be mindful of accidental spills. Antifreeze keeps our cars running smoothly in the winter, which means many of us have it handy. If your car starts to leak antifreeze or your extra supply spills, be sure to clean it up immediately. Antifreeze has a very sweet scent and taste that’s appealing to pets, but it’s extremely poisonous! Protect your pet by cleaning up antifreeze spills right away.
When it comes to venturing outdoors with your dog during the winter, always use your best judgement. If it’s too cold outside, simply leave your pets at home. There are plenty of ways to keep them entertained indoors throughout the winter!