Winter is here and so are those weekend snow trips! Here are a few tips to keep it fun for everyone; four-legged family members included.
Winter Wonderland Stroll
Make sure your dog is prepared and decked out for his winter outing. Dogs with little body fat will be much happier in a water-resistant sweater or coat. Remember, if it’s cold to you, it’s cold to your pet. If your pup has sensitive paws, you can use paw protectant jellies or booties to help prevent irritation and soreness on (and between) the paw pads.
Try and keep your dogs leashed with proper identification, and watched at all times. Many dogs get lost during this time of year. Familiar smells are subdued with the colder climates and dogs can become lost or disoriented without them.
Ice and other frozen areas should be avoided. It is impossible to know if the ice will hold your dog’s weight and if your dog falls in, it could be deadly for both him and any potential rescuer.
If your pet starts to shiver, whine, and becomes overly anxious or stops moving, take him to a warm place immediately. Your pet is starting to show signs of hypothermia and you should consult with a veterinarian immediately.
Keep a towel handy for when the stroll is over. You’ll want to rubdown your pet’s paws and belly to remove ice, salt and other toxic winter chemicals such as anti-freeze.
Just like humans, pets will burn extra calories during the winter as they try to stay warm. Feeding your pet a bit extra will help keep those shivers at bay. Consult with your veterinarian to help your pet maintain a healthy diet.
Be sure to keep your pets well hydrated. The warm, dry environment of your winter retreat can dry out your pet’s skin. Plenty of water or even a humidifier will help prevent skin irritation.
You never know what your winter retreat will have on hand. Bring an extra blanket or pet bed to ensure your pet has a safe and warm space to sleep. Keep it away from heaters in case of fire and cold windows that may have a draft.
Winter weather can also bring harsh storms, leading to power outages. Be prepared and bring extra non-perishable food and bottled water for both you and your pet.