Its cold outside! Your dog may or may not enjoy the cold weather but either way we’ve compiled a list of tips to keep Fido comfy and warm this winter season!

1. Groom Your Dog.  This may seem like common sense but your dog’s coat is his insulation against the cold weather and snow this season. Keeping that coat well groomed is important because matted, tangled fur is less efficient at keeping the heat in and the snow and cold rain out. Be sure not to have your dog shaved or given a close hair cut this season as the full weight of his coat is what he will need to stay warm.

2. Trim the Hair Around the Paw Pads.  This will help to prevent ice and snow from balling up between your pup’s toes. After walks outside its a good idea to also check for cracks, cuts or foreign matter. Don’t forget also to wipe your dog’s feet. Salt and chemicals used to melt the snow can be harmful to your pet.

3. Use a Product like Musher’s Secret to keep Fido’s paws free of debris and ice. If your dog will allow, doggie booties can protect his pads from the weather as well.

4. Limit Time Outdoors in Extreme Temperatures – I don’t know where you guys are but here in IL it was -15 this morning! If you’ve got a husky or a Newfy they might still enjoy that for a little while. My labs, aussie and doodles…not big fans. In temperatures like the ones we are having here right now, my dogs are only outside for a few minutes at a time. Longer exposure could lead to frostbite on toes or ears or tail tips. Again, Northern breeds and heavy coated breeds may still want to play in the snow and that’s great, just make sure to take frequent breaks indoors to keep your furbaby from getting too cold and be sure to keep them away from areas like frozen lakes that may or may not  be safe to walk on.

 

5. Go Outside When the Sun is Shining. – If your dog is sensitive to the cold, the sunshine will help her feel a little more comfortable and it will have the added benefit of providing both you and your dog with some much needed Vitamin D.

6. Get Fido a Coat! – Some dog breeds are naturally blessed with a thick, warm coat for the winter but others, like boxers have short coats and are more sensitive to the cold. For those dogs, a winter coat may be in order to keep them comfortable on winter outings.  A coat should cover your dog from the neck to the base of his tail. Don’t forget that a coat still won’t prevent frostbite on ears, toes and tails, so don’t keep your short coated dog out for too long in extreme weather.

7. Keep Your Dog Away From Toxins.  – with winter comes antifreeze and antifreeze + Fido = bad news. If youve recently topped off your vehicle, please make sure to clean up any spills so your pup wont accidentally drink it. This could mean a very expensive trip to the ER or worse.

8. Never Leave Your Dog Unattended in the Car. – Most of us know this is the rule during warm weather but it is also important during very cold weather. Cars cool off very quickly and at the very least, a dog left in the cold car while you shop is going to be uncomfortable.

9.Get Your Dog some Cozy Bedding. Don’t let your furry friend sleep on a cold floor! Choose some comfy bedding to help him feel snug and warm during the cold winter days. Put the bed in a warm spot, away from drafts; preferably a favorite spot where she already likes to sleep so the new bedding doesn’t feel too unfamiliar.

10. Take Special Care with Senior Dogs.  Just like with people, cold weather can exacerbate the effects of arthritis. Its important to maintain an exercise routine with your older dog to help them keep from getting too stiff. Be sure to stay away from slippery surfaces though to prevent joint injuries. Your old friend will also appreciate a warm place to lie down and stay comfortable during the colder months. If need be a joing supplement may benefit older dogs who suffer from arthritis pains during the winter.

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