Colorful Tales

Keeping Your Dog Happy and Healthy in Chilly Weather

March 7, 2019

Photo courtesy of Tori Mistick of Wear Wag Repeat.

Winter is still with us, which means we’re in for some colder than normal temperatures, as well as seasonal rain or snow.  March is indeed coming “In like a Lion”, and that means extra care should be taken for both humans and their beloved canine companions.

IF YOU’RE COLD, SO ARE THEY

While most dogs have a nice layer of fur to keep them warm and toasty, think of it like your favorite Marmot or North Face parka, even extreme temperatures can permeate down to the skin.  Luckily, our four-legged friends have lots of options available to supplement their coats and still allow them to get out for some fresh air – everything from sweaters to puffers and fleece coats - depending on their specific breed.  Be sure to look for appropriately sized clothing, key features such as pockets and harness patches, as well as other thoughtful details including reversible, water repellent, and machine washable fabrics.

Another thing to consider is paw-wear.  Frostbite happens most often on a dog’s ears, tail, and toes, especially if they get wet.  Footwear to protect their paws is a must-have for several reasons.  First, their feet come in close contact with water, snow, and ice.  A dangerous combination that forces their body to constrict blood vessels to keep the blood pumping to essential organs.  Second, during the winter months their pads are often exposed to damaging salts used in the melting process.  Frostbite is often a precursor to hypothermia, so the bottom line here is to keep your pet warm, dry, and protected.  Basically, be sure to keep your love bug snug.

Photo courtesy of @brandyandmoose.

CABIN FEVER

Dogs love the outdoors and running around.  Being stuck inside during the winter months can lead to boredom, bad behavior, lethargy, and weight gain – sounds like humans have these problems too!  Be sure to keep your pet indoors during prolonged periods of extreme cold, otherwise, get out there and have fun!  If your pet is used to playing fetch, look for bright-colored, waterproof toys you can throw, yet can still be seen in the snow.  Since dogs have what’s similar to red-green colorblindness in humans, choose toys that are primarily yellow and blue.  Nerf Dog has some fun choices; we especially like this cool Shark Football.  Also, let them get some indoor exercise with a game of tug of war or some all-natural bones for chewing (instead of your shoe).  Our dogs love Earth Animal No Hide Chews for a tasty treat that is easily digestible.

Lastly, if you do take your pet for a walk, don’t forget their coat, paw-wear, and a reliable collar, harness, and lead.  This time of year, the roads can get tight when sidewalks and road edges fill up with ice and snow.  Your best bet is to take your dog to a park, but if that option isn’t available, ensure your pet’s safety by using a secure harness and lead.  Our collars, harnesses, and leads are made of high-tensile strength nylon webbing and our buckles are Coast Guard approved for high weight hold.  Make sure everything is fitted properly as well so that your pet can’t breakaway at the first sign of a squirrel.

Keeping your dog active during the cold weather is a win-win for you and your pet.  With some common sense, proper gear, and lots of TLC, your furry friend can enjoy the cold just as much as a day at the beach.    


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