It is winter and it is very cold! Yes, but if our dogs are used to being walked daily, we have to continue with their routine because a well-exercised dog lives longer and suffers from fewer health problems.
Our pets love walking and playing in the snow, but we have to take special care of them. To keep our happy dogs safe during cold weather, we follow these advises we would like to share with you:
Know the limits: Cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. We have to be aware of our pet’s tolerance for cold weather and adjust accordingly. We will probably need to shorten dog’s walks to protect them from weather-associated health risks. We recommend consulting your veterinarian to determine your pet’s temperature limits.
Check the paws: Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between its toes. Also, reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.
Dog coats and sweaters: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder.
Wipe down: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. Wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after licking them off of his/her feet or fur.
Up-to-date identification: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that normally help your pet find their way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. The microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but you must keep the registration up to date.
Avoid ice: When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don’t know if the ice will support your dog’s weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly.
Recognize problems: If your pet is shivering, seems anxious, slows down, stops moving or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don’t make it worth doing. Check with your veterinarian your pet’s nutritional needs during cold weather.
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