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4 Tips To Keep Your Dog Healthy This Winter

Just because your dog always sports a fur coat doesn’t mean they are able to survive winter weather unscathed. The following guide can help ensure your four-legged family members remain safe and healthy throughout the winter months.

Tip #1: Outside Management

The truth is most dogs must go outside to relieve themselves, even on the coldest of days. Make it easier for your pooch by shoveling a pathway to a cleared area so they don’t have to freeze their paws in cold snow. Clearing the bathroom area is also appreciated, especially if you have a female dog that would otherwise have to squat down in the snow. Don’t leave your pup outside for more than a few minutes when temperatures are below freezing, either – although they have their own fur coat, a dog can still get chilled or develop hypothermia.

Tip #2: Shelter in Place

If your dog must spend some time outside unattended, provide them with a doghouse. This will give them a place to shelter and get warm if they do begin to feel the chill. It doesn’t take long for them to warm a small doghouse with their body heat, plus it provides shelter from the wind. You still should avoid leaving your dog outside for too long, especially if temperatures are below freezing. Not only is this cold, their water bowls will freeze which can lead to dehydration.

Tip #3: Paw Protection

A daily walk, even in winter, is a great way to keep both you and your pet healthy. Unfortunately, icy sidewalks and cold temperatures can cause abrasions or frostbite on your pet’s paws. Invest in some dog booties, which will protect against both. Booties also protect against chemical burns, which some deicing products on sidewalks can cause. Dogs that are easily chilled, especially smaller dogs and short-haired breeds, may also appreciate a dog coat or sweater to help keep them warm on their walks.

Tip #4: Monitor and Maintain

Winter can be tough on a dog’s health, especially older dogs. These dogs may experience more arthritis pain due to the cold weather, or they may have diseases, like diabetes, that make it harder to regulate their body temperature in the chill. Keep an eye on your pet if they have a chronic condition, and notify your vet if you notice any changes. A vet, like those at Ashworth Road Animal Hospital PC, may be able to recommend diet changes or exercises that will help make them more comfortable, or they may need to adjust your dog’s medications during colder weather.