Winter is the time of year when we spend more time indoors, which means our dogs are, too. It’s important to make sure your pup spends his winter days safely and comfortably. Follow these tips and keep your dog safe during the cold, snowy months:
Feed your dog nutritious food
You should always be feeding your dog a nutritious and balanced diet. Most dogs will need more calories to keep warm during the winter, so ensure you feed them enough food throughout the season. Dog foods made specifically for winter weather are ideal because they contain added nutrients like omega fatty acids that help keep their skin and hair healthy.
Dog food should also be fresh. If it’s been sitting in your pantry for months, it could go rancid, which can cause digestive problems and sickness in dogs.
Be sure your dog is healthy
A healthy dog is a happy, comfortable, and well-behaved dog. While this may sound like obvious advice, it’s something that you should take seriously. Be sure to take your pet for regular checkups at the vet (at least once every six months). Vaccinate as your veterinarian recommends—protect them from disease and help them live longer.
Keep an eye out for signs of fleas or ticks on your dog’s body, and check them thoroughly during their weekly grooming sessions. Heartworm is another concern that many people don’t even know about until it’s too late; be sure to ask your vet how often you should test your pet for heartworm so they can develop a plan that works best for both of you. Finally, if you notice unusual symptoms in your dog, such as increased thirstiness or urination as well as fatigue or lethargy, then schedule a visit with the veterinarian immediately because diabetes also affects older dogs more frequently than younger ones.
Keep up with grooming
Keeping your dog’s fur trimmed, brushed, and cared for can help prevent the formation of mats, which in turn will reduce the chances of your dog developing skin irritations that could lead to infections. It’s also a good idea to perform regular flea checks on them.
Keep in mind that even though winter is coming, it’s important not to let your dog sit out in the cold without any protection from the elements at all times. While some breeds have evolved thicker coats than others, you should never leave your pet outside without a coat or sweater.
Know how to recognize signs of hypothermia
To keep your dog safe during the winter, it’s important to know the signs of hypothermia when your dog’s body temperature drops below normal. Symptoms include shivering, sluggishness and lethargy. If you suspect your dog has hypothermia, immediately take them to a vet.
Use caution when applying de-icing agents on your sidewalk or driveway
If you must use a de-icing agent, such as rock salt or other chemical salts, be sure to choose the safest option for your dog. Non-toxic de-icing agents are typically safer for dogs and other pets but wear down faster than chemical alternatives. It’s best only to apply these products when temperatures are above freezing, walkways and driveways have been cleared of snow. To keep your dog safe, avoid using them on grassy areas where your dog may lick the residue off their paws after walking through them.
Avoid salty sidewalks and streets whenever possible
The salt that is used to melt snow and ice can be hazardous to your dog. Salty sidewalks and streets are a big concern during the winter, as dogs will lick the salt off their paws. Additional dangers include eating snow that has been salted or licking salt off their fur. If you live in a place where there is frequent use of road salt, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog so they don’t come into contact with it.
Prevent antifreeze poisoning
Antifreeze is sweet but toxic!
If you do not have a garage or carport, consider storing your antifreeze out of reach in another area of the house. Even if you have a garage or carport and keep your antifreeze there, it’s still important to keep an eye on it at all times and ensure that your dog doesn’t have access to it. If you suspect your dog has ingested some antifreeze, apply first aid on your pet and immediately contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for guidance and treatment options.
We hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare for winter. Remember that there are many ways to keep your dog safe and healthy, and we’ve tried to cover a wide variety of them here. But remember that taking care of your pet is ultimately up to you! A little bit of research goes a long way to ensure your dog stays happy this season.