Winter is coming, and that can mean a lot of things to your pet. It can mean fun in the snow, embarrassingly adorable sweaters, or danger. Along with the cold, pet owners should keep an eye out for ice and salt burn. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help guide your way through the winter wonderland.
DO: Protect your pet from the cold!
If your dog has a short coat, but likes being outside, don’t be afraid to pull a sweater on over them. Cute designs are a plus, but for the less fashion conscious dog there are still options. Most pet stores carry a basic velcro fleece to keep chills off of your furry friend.
DON’T: Go overboard.
Sweaters can help keep dogs warm, but keep in mind that most dogs don’t appreciate being dressed up. Hats, scarves, and other add-ons should be used for pictures only. Your dog will be less likely to lose them and appreciate not having things hanging off of them during play time.
DO: Protect the paws
The winter is the most dangerous time for your pet’s paws. Ice buildup between the toes can give your dog frostbite before you even realize it. Check your dog’s paws thoroughly during and after playing in the snow. Paw wax such as Mushers can help protect from the cold, as well as salt burn. Salt burn is common and painful to your pet. Be sure to use a pet friendly ice melt and encourage neighbors to do the same. Typically these brands will advertise that they are pet safe right on the front of the package
DON’T: Get too attached to the booties
Dog booties or shoes need to be introduced to the dog in the initial training/puppy stages. If your dog is uncomfortable having things around its feet, these booties are a bad idea. They are as expensive as they are cute, and are easily lost. An inexpensive alternative to dogs with longer paw fur is a combination of infant or child no slip socks and hair ties. Be careful not to attach these too tightly.
DO: Watch your step on walks
Dogs still need to be walked during the winter, but ice is dangerous to both you and your pet. One slip can bring you down and cause you to drop the leash. Consider investing in a hands-free jogging lead to avoid losing your pet (not recommended for hard pulling dogs).
DON’T: Use retractable leashes
Retractable leashes can encourage your dog to pull more than normal, even if it is leash trained. The locking mechanisms can also be too difficult to manage while wearing mittens. When the path is icy, just don’t take the risk.
Check out the video below for more tips for Winter safety on walks!
Video Credit: [Vetsreet.com] (2015, February 24)Tips for safely walking a dog in winter.
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia6G_C1ZaUA