Caring For A Dog In The Winter
Caring for a dog during the winter months requires you to be extra vigilant. The harsh, cold conditions of winter weather can wreak havoc on man’s best friend. There are many things you can do to ensure your dog is properly cared for throughout the rough winter season.
Preventing Injuries To Their Paws
Your dog’s paws are very delicate and can easily become injured during the winter. The salt that is used on pavement and steps to prevent you from slipping on the ice can be very damaging to your dog’s paws. Too much contact for an undesirable period of time can result in chemical burns. When you must walk your dog outside during the winter make sure that if there is snow on ground your dog walks through it rather than footpaths and sidewalks that have had salt applied to them. It is also crucial to make sure that your dog does not lick their paws after they have been exposed to salt. The best way to avoid your dog licking the salt off their paws when you get them home from a walk is to leave a bowl of warm water by your front door, as well as a cloth that you can use to clean off their paws and your shoes.
If your dog has particularly hairy feet you will also have to worry about ice balls forming between each of their toes. The best way to keep this from happening is to frequently trim the fur that surrounds the pads of the dog’s feet.
There are products on the market that you can use to protect the dog’s paws during the winter months, such as Bag Balm, Safe Paw and dog booties. The Bag Balm can be found at virtually any pharmacy and can be applied to your dog every other day. Using a thin coat of Bag Balm on them will prevent their paws from bleeding or becoming cracked due to the cold.
Safe Paw is a pet-friendly product you can use to deice your dog’s paws. There are also waxes such as the Musher’s Secret, which you simply put on the dog’s paws before taking them out on a walk to create a protective barrier that prevents their paws from becoming injured. The wax simply wears off after a while and you can feel free to apply it again each time you walk the dog. Dog booties offer the highest level of protection possible for their paws. Not only will they protect their paws from the cold of the snow they will also protect them from stepping on any sharp objects that might be buried under snow. It is extremely important to make sure the booties fit the dog’s paws in order for them to provide as much protection as possible.
Monitoring Their Overall Health
Just as people get sicker during the winter time than any other time of the year the same thing applies to dogs. You will want to watch their health especially carefully during the winter months of the year. They are more vulnerable to certain things during the winter, such as being exposed to antifreeze. Since it can kill your dog you must make sure they never ingest any antifreeze, which can be difficult because dogs like the taste and scent of it.
Many people don’t realise it, but dogs are vulnerable to dehydration during the winter as much as they are the rest of the year. You will want to make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times to prevent them from becoming dehydrated, even during the cold winter months when they are likely less active. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if your dog licks snow they are getting the water they need.
Keeping your dog away from heat sources throughout the home, such as heated blankets and fireplaces, can help preserve their good health. Even portable heaters can severely burn a dog, so if you have one at home, put it in a place where the dog can’t get to it.
The more your dog is outside during the winter the more food you will want to make sure they get. They need more food during the winter because it is especially important to ensure their body temperature is regulated. Too little food can cause their body temperature to drop low enough to cause health problems.
Take Them For A Pre Winter Checkup
Just before the winter season begins take your dog to the vet for a checkup so that they can determine whether or not the dog has any medical problems that could make them more likely to become sick during the winter months. If they do, your vet can take preventative measures to try and keep them healthy.
Think Of Less Fortunate Dogs
While you are spending the winter season making sure your dog is loved and well taken care of there are dogs out there that don’t having loving homes and caregivers. This is where the U.K.’s RSPCA Choice Initiative comes into play. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is an organisation dedicated to re-homing dogs in need. Their Choice Initiative program allows the public to choose which of the organisation’s many projects they want to help finance by making a cash donation. The public can dictate to the organisation how the want the money that they are donating to be used. Current projects they are accepting cash donations for include the Emergency Seal Appeal and the Orphan Wildlife Ward. These ideas for fundraising are popular among people who want to help a specific type of animal. Each project run by the organization is benefitting greatly from the Choice Initiative program.
Keeping all of these things in mind will allow you to properly care for your dog each and every winter. Their health is as important as the health of any and all human beings.