5 tips to get your dog safe and warm through the winter
We all feel it, the days are getting shorter and a whole lot colder. We immediately pull our winter coats out of the closet but our dogs do not have the advantage of deciding for themselves when they want to be a little warmer. How your dog reacts to the cold often depends on the breed. A husky feels like totally at home in the snow and cold, while a Vizsla would rather go back inside if he feels a drop of rain during his walk. The age of your dog plays a big factor. A puppy also finds the cold quite unpleasant because they can't get their tummy warm. With these handy tips, you can make sure that both you and your dog can get through the winter safely and warmly.
Avoid potential dangers
There are many dangers lurking in small corners during the winter. Pay particular attention to the following
Frozen water and ice: Never let your dog walk on ice. Your dog is not aware that that ice can break just like that. Thus, prevent drowning or hypothermia! Even if the ice is thick enough to walk on, avoid it. Your dog can quickly lose control and tear a muscle.
Antifreeze: Keep antifreeze away from your dog at all costs. Even a tiny bit of antifreeze in their system can be deadly. It is important to keep these items locked away.
Take a walk during the day instead of in the evening or morning
Not always obvious now that the days are a lot shorter but it is the safest option to plan your walk during the day. In the morning and evening the visibility is a lot lower, there is ice in many places and drivers do not always see you coming.
If you have no choice but to hike in the dark. Take precautions. Provide your dog with a jacket, possibly shoes if necessary, a luminous leash and possibly an extra light for their jacket. Provide a fluorescent jacket for yourself as well.
Give your dog a jacket
Puppies and senior dogs can't stand the cold as they have less muscle and fat than an adult dog. Muscle and fat present in your dog's body increases their metabolism and keeps them warm. A puppy's coat is also important not yet thick enough to provide protection and warmth. They therefore benefit most from wearing a jacket.
Protect the paws
It looks strange and the first time you put it on, they often don't like it. Still, it's highly recommended to provide your dog with a boot or "sock" if it's very cold or if you're walking in the snow. Otherwise, there is a good chance that they will suffer from leg or foot pad discomfort.
If you decide not to wear boots, be especially careful with small snow or ice balls between your dog's toes or in his hair. When you get home, it is best to clean his paws and let them warm up again. If you do not do this, they will lick their paws dry themselves and absorb the road salt, which in turn can cause irritation.
Keep your dog close while walking
Keep your dog on a leash during your 'snow walk'. Why? Because dogs tend to lose their way in the snow, their entire walk is covered is a layer of snow so everything looks the same. Even during your daily walk in the same forest, your dog may become slightly disoriented. The cold environment gives off a lot fewer scents than during the warmer months, which makes it harder for your dog to pick them up.