Winter is upon us with it’s fluctuations of cold and snow followed by thawing and sun (at least here in the Pikes Peak region). Just as you watch out for your pet in the high heat of summer you should pay attention to your pet’s winter needs.
If you’re cold they’re most likely cold as well. Sure they have a fur coat but many breeds have thin hair and can easily get cold. So even if they’re “outside” animals bring them inside some sort of warmer shelter when the temperature dips far below freezing. If you’re out and about in really cold temps get them a seater or dog coat to assist them in keeping warm. This is best for smaller dogs as well as those with thin fur like greyhounds. Some breeds however relish the cold like Great Pyrenees, Huskies and Malamutes. These dogs are at home curled up in a snow bank in sub freezing temperatures.
Make sure you also keep your pet well hydrated in the winter months. We tend to think the pets need a lot of water just in the summer months but here in this area winter is very dry and pets need lots of water.
Most dogs love bounding through snow but make sure that they don’t over extend themselves in several cold temperatures. Just as people cannot tolerate severe temperatures for a long length of time, most dogs cannot either. Take care of walking pets on ice as you both can easily slip and slide. Pets can fall and injure themselves on ice just like their people.
And what about ice melt? Well it’s not all that great for dogs to be around but fortunately there are several companies that make pet safe ice melt. Regular ice melt uses rock salt or calcium chloride which can be toxic for your pet, especially if ingested in large quantities. It can also harm your pet’s feet. Pet safe ice melt (as well as many other types of ice melt these days) uses urea which is safer for pets. If ingested it is not toxic though can cause vomiting and some diarrhea.
The bottom line is pets need care in all seasons so keep an eye on your dog this winter.