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Winter Weather Tips for Dogs

Winter is a fun time for dogs if you follow some basic safety rules.

Most dogs love a good romp in the snow with their owners. Even if you're just taking your dog out for a simple walk around the block, it's a good idea to be aware of some of the risks of cold weather for dogs.

1. Protect Your Dog's Feet - There are many harsh chemicals on the ground during winter months to melt ice and many of these are not safe for dogs. A dog that gets some on their paws can accidentally ingest some when licking and cleaning them, or suffer skin irritations and burns. If you need to use ice melt products, there are ones that are made specifically to be safe for dogs, such as Safe Paw and Paw Thaw. Another way to protect your dog's feet is to use dog boots or a product like musher's wax. Always check your dog's feet when you come back inside to make sure there aren't any bits of ice stuck in his or her fur or any paw irritations.

2. Beware of Antifreeze - Another chemical that is found often during the winter is car antifreeze, which can be deadly for dogs if ingested. You can purchase antifreeze that is safer for pets but always be aware that other people, such as neighbors along your usual walk, may use the "regular" unsafe kind and you should always keep an eye on your dog. Wipe your dog's paws clean to make sure there's no antifreeze on them after a walk.

3. Changes in Diet - If your dog is very active during the winter, you may find it necessary to bump up his diet a bit, as he or she will be burning more calories to stay warm. Always consult with your veterinarian if you're concerned about your dog's weight.

4. Keep Your Dog Warm - Not all dogs require wearing a human-style coat when they're out in the cold and many dogs, such as Northern breeds, are built to handle colder temperatures for a period of time. Dogs with shorter hair may have a tougher time in the cold, as well as older dogs. A good quality, waterproof coat can be helpful for dogs in these situations. If you take your dog out in the cold often, make sure you know the signs of hypothermia so you can get to the veterinarian asap if your dog becomes too cold.

Taking some simple precautions can keep you and your pet safe during the cold weather months so be aware of the dangers and get outside in the snow and have fun together!


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