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Preparing Your Dog For Winter


pexels-photo-largeWith Halloween just around the corner, the first signs of colder weather are upon us.  For your dog, this means opportunities to play in the snow and chase snowballs, while for you the winter will require a change in routine.  Tips for keeping your dog safe are listed below.

Indoor Dog

Unless your dog is a northern breed such as an Akita or Siberian Husky, chances are that she will need an extra layer of protection when outdoors.  Small dogs and shorthaired breeds should wear a sweater or water-resistant jacket when temperatures are below freezing.

Snow, ice, and salt can all cause discomfort for your dog.  If your pet is a puppy or has sensitive paws, consider purchasing booties from the pet store that will provide an extra layer of protection.

Pet-Safe Salt
Dogs can experience burns and irritation to their mouths when licking road salt from their paws in the winter.  If your dog does not wear boots outside, salt your sidewalk and drive way with pet-safe salt, which can be purchased at pet stores and most retailers.

Your dog will need to adjust to the cold weather slowly.  Once the temperatures start to fall, gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends outdoors.

Decreased Portion Sizes
Indoor dogs tend to sleep more and exercise less during the winter, which is a recipe for weight gain.  If your pet is less active reduce her food intake accordingly to avoid weight-related health problems.

Outdoor Dog

Insulated Dog House
If your dog spends the majority of his time outdoors, it is necessary to provide an insulated dog house with four walls and a roof.  The dog house should have one door in and out, and should only be as large as necessary for your pet to stand up and turn around, which will minimize heat loss.

Proper Bedding
Appropriate bedding for an outdoor dog house is straw or wood chips.  Any material that can become wet and freeze is not a good option, as this will not be comfortable for your pet.   Bedding material is important, as it will further help your dog retain heat.

Heated Water Bowl
One responsibility of dog ownership is always providing access to fresh water for your pet.  In the wintertime, water bowls may freeze, eliminating this access.  Two options are either to provide your dog with a heated bowl or a drinking fountain that continuously runs water.  Owners should also avoid bowl materials that may freeze to your pet’s tongue, such as metal.

Increased Portion Sizes
A dog that is primarily outside will expend extra energy while trying to maintain core body temperature.  For these dogs, it is important to increase the portion sizes of their food to ensure they have enough energy to stay warm.  A supplement containing omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids may also be beneficial.


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Anna Weber

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