October 26, 2010

Caring for Your Dog in the Winter

Filed under: Dog health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:32 am

As the winter season quickly approaches, it is important for dog owners to make sure their beloved pets are well cared for during the winter.  Especially if you live in cooler climates, you need to protect your dog from colder winter weather.  From grooming and shelter to general health concerns, the winter season requires dog owners to be more vigilant about pet care.

First and foremost, you must provide your dog with adequate shelter during the winter.  Leaving your dog outdoors for extended periods of time is not only uncomfortable but can also pose a serious risk to your dog’s general health.  In addition, wind chill and other weather factors like rain and snow make the outside temperatures even colder.  Your dog needs somewhere warm and dry to sleep; even indoors tile or non-carpeted flooring will be unnecessarily cold for your dog.  Plus, older dogs who may be suffering from osteoarthritis will experience more extreme symptoms in the winter so keep them warm and cozy.

When it comes to grooming, letting your dog’s hair run wild during the winter is hardly a good idea.  You might think that you need to worry less about grooming because a thick coat will protect your dog in winter.  On the contrary, regular grooming is necessary to ensure that your dog is effectively insulated from the cold.  Long-haired dogs should be brushed and hair around their feet should be trimmed to prevent snow build up.  Remember that short haired dogs are not well insulated so they should be kept warm with a sweater or coat.

Finally, dog owners should realize that some of our winter routines pose an added risk to a dog’s health.  For example, antifreeze tastes and smells appetizing to dogs but it can be fatal if ingested.  Always store antifreeze well out of your dog’s reach and ensure that spills are cleaned thoroughly.  Also, treating walkways and driveways with rock salt prevents ice build up but rock salt can also be an irritant to your pet’s feet so be sure to clean and dry your dog’s feet after walks.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.