Since much of the country is currently plunged into a deep freeze of winter weather, it seems like the perfect time to brush up on some ways to keep your dog as comfortable as possible in the nightmarish cold.
We know that our dogs are still going to need to go out for potty breaks, and some dogs can’t take a break from fresh air and exercise, no matter the temps. So, below are 5 tips to keeping them safe outdoors in the winter.
#5. Make sure to check them when you get home.
They could have picked up salt, antifreeze, or other de-icing products from the street, all of which can be irritating to their paws and toxic if ingested.
#4. Buy your dog a winter jacket.
Most dog accessories aren’t exactly designed for function, but a jacket can serve an important purpose if you plan to be out in the cold with your pooch. This is especially true for short-haired and smaller breeds that need help conserving body heat.
Make sure to choose one that’s waterproof and covers the chest and abdomen – plus, if you get a brightly colored coat, it can help you spot your pup if he likes to go off-leash at the dog park.
#3. Some booties aren’t a bad idea, either.
Especially if you walk on the snow and ice. Prolonged exposure to cold surfaces will cause discomfort, and while waxes and gels can help to protect their paws, boots are less messy. It might take awhile to get your doggo used to the feeling of wearing them, though, so be patient.
#2. Pay attention to your dog’s cues.
They’ll shake, try to head toward home, or raise their paws for longer lengths of time if the cold is getting to them, so if you observe any of those signs, make sure to head indoors as soon as possible. Also, be aware of your dog’s breed and how tolerant they are to the cold in general – this chart will help!
#1. Choose the right leash.
You’ve go to maintain control even while one or both of you are watching your step, so a harness might be a good idea. Avoid retractable leashes that give the dog more control.
Also, a reminder, in case you’ve forgotten – if it’s too cold for you to be outside for more than a few minutes even with a coat, it’s too cold to leave your pooch out for any length of time.