Winter Safety Tips For Your Dog

Winter Dog Pictures Donated by Kelly ThompsonThe winter months can be brutal for your dog. There are plenty of aspects that can cause pain or injury to your animal, and it’s very important that you know how to properly take care of your dog in the winter to ensure they remain happy and healthy. Use the following tips to take care of your dog during the winter.

Keep your dog on a leash.
If you’re taking your dog for a walk in the winter, it’s very important that you keep them on a leash. Your dog may be well behaved and stay by your side, but having them on a leash is extremely important in the winter. During the cold weather, a dog’s sense of smell is hindered, meaning that if they were to run off and become lost, they would have a harder time finding their way back home. In fact, the ASPCA reports that more dogs end up lost during the winter months than any other time of the year.

Let them keep their longer coat.
If you shave your dog’s fur, it’s a good idea to allow their fur to grow a little longer in the winter. It’s very important that you never shave your dog during the winter, as the lack of a winter coat can cause your dog to suffer from hypothermia, which can cause death.
If you have a short haired breed, it’s a good idea to invest in a dog sweater or a dog coat for them to wear during the cold, as this can help keep their body temperature elevated.

Give them a warm place to rest.
Even though your dog may not look cold doesn’t mean they aren’t. Make sure that your dog has a warm place to relax and lie down. Never leave a dog outside during the winter months. Instead, make sure they are allowed in the house to warm up. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the dog’s bed is away from doors, windows or other drafty areas. If you have a short haired dog, you may want to consider giving them their own blanket too. Once in a while, you may want to curl up with your dog and a good movie. Many people don't realize, their loyal, furry friend can help chase away the winter blues.

Increase their food supply.
If your dog is extremely active during the winter months, you may want to consider increasing their food. Dogs use more energy during the winter months than other times of year, and the extra food can help keep them from losing weight and provide them with the extra energy they need.

Wipe them off.
If your dog was spending time in the snow, be sure to wipe off their paws, belly and body before coming into the house. Your dog is prone to frostbite, and having a wet dog in the house means that they’ll still be cold from the remnants of ice and snow. Wiping them off allows them to dry easier and enables their body to get back to a normal temperature.

Never leave them outside for too long.
Dogs may be able to withstand colder weather better than you, but they’re not immune to it. Never leave your dog out in the cold for extended periods of time, and never leave a dog alone in a car during the winter months either.
Author Bio: Dr. Susan Wright, DVM has been providing care for domestic animals for more than a decade. Susan extends her love of dogs through freelance writing on topics that teach owners how to be better caregivers and friends to their loyal companions.