While your dog does come with a built in coat, of varying warmth levels depending on the breed, you can’t assume this is enough in our cold climates! It is so important to ensure that your pup is warm enough when you take them out in the winter.
Listen to your dog. When walking your dog this winter, don’t forget to watch for signs that your dog may be too cold such as whining, shivering, and lifting its paws or holding one up as they walk. If you notice these signs, get them somewhere to warm up as quickly as possible.
To ensure that they stay warm enough check out these tips:
1. Cut back on walks on very cold days. On colder days limit the duration and the number of walks to protect your dog from frostbite and hypothermia.
2. Protect their paws. Make sure your dog’s toe hair is trimmed so that ice and salt don’t get caught in it. You can also buy your dog winter water-resistant boots. These will keep the snow, ice, and cold water off their sensitive feet.
3. Don’t allow your dog to eat snow on cold days. Eating snow dangerously lowers your dog’s body temperature which makes them more susceptible to cold related injury. Additionally, there could be chemicals or hidden objects buried in the snow that could be very harmful to them. If the snow is in a space that you know is chemical free and they are not out for a long period or it is a warm day, you can let them have a snow treat.
4. Get them a jacket or sweater. Even though your dog comes with a built in jacket, most breeds are not equipped to handle Minnesota's coldest days or long periods outside. A jacket or sweater can help keep them warmer so you can be out longer or on colder days.
With these simple shifts, you and your dog can continue to enjoy the benefits of your daily walks even in cold months! Happy walking!
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Animal Care Foundation
Providing elderly and disabled community members access to veterinary care for their beloved pet.