•· Understand your dog’s tolerance: A pet’s tolerance to cold weather can differ from pet to pet. This will depend on the dog’s age, size and the type of coat they have. Shorten walks and make sure dogs have plenty of water when they get back indoors.
•· Give your dog different sleeping choices: Pets may change their normal sleeping location based on their need for warmth.
•· Check your dog’s paws: Check paws for injuries that may have been caused by the cold weather. Ice and deicing chemicals can accumulate on their paws.
•· Wipe your dog down after walks: Your dog’s feet and fur may trap deicers such as salt which can be toxic. After your walk, wipe them down with a warm cloth.
•· Protect your dog indoors: Since most of your dog’s time will be spent indoors this winter, make sure it is pet proof. Space heaters should be used with caution. Dogs can knock them over easily or get burned. Also keep any type of antifreeze product or deicer far away from your pets.
•· Keep your dog at a healthy weight: Some people believe if a dog weighs more they will be more protected in the winter, however, it will also increase your dog’s health risks.
Every pet is different and will respond to cold weather in their own way. It is important as a pet owner to monitor your dog throughout the winter and make sure they are comfortable. Most importantly, never leave your dog outside for long periods of time during this dangerously cold weather. If you have concerns about your dog’s health, seek medical attention immediately. We hope you and your pets keep safe and warm this winter.
American Veterinary Medical Association, “Cold Weather Pet Safety”