Winter Dog Safety Tips
Positive Reinforcement Dog Training Helps Owners Assume Role as Pack Leader
We’re right at the start of the winter season, so what better time to start learning how to protect your dog and keep them safe in the cold by these winter dog safety tips. Whether you’re taking them for a walk, playing outside, or just letting them out back to do their thing, your dog needs special care once the freezing temperatures and snow come. Here are some things to keep in mind while we wait for spring.
Equip Them with The Proper Winter Wear: When going outside with your dog, consider the winter clothing they may need. Pets with long, thick coats may not require a jacket, but short-haired types could appreciate one to help stay warm, as their fur isn’t designed for insulation. A dog jacket should go from collar to tail and cover the belly as well.
Another piece of winter equipment for your dog is boots. Some dogs adapt to wearing them much better than others, and some never get used to the idea. The purpose of the boot is to protect their paws from snow, ice, and other environmental hazards. A buildup of snow and ice can cause your dog to limp and become uncomfortable on your walk, and salt and de-icing chemicals can irritate and burn their paws. Most de-icing products, unless specifically marked as pet-friendly, are also hazardous or toxic to animals, so be sure to clean off your dog’s paws when coming back inside. Boots are also beneficial for keeping the slush and salt mess outside and not on your floors.
Ensure They’re Clean, Dry, and Moisturized: Keeping your dog well bathed during the winter is as important as in the summer. A clean, well taken care of coat provides much better heat retention and insulation than an unkempt and dirty one. Make sure that after a bath, your dog is completely dry before going outside so they stay warm.
Just like the cold and dry weather affects our skin, it can cause flaking and dryness for your dog as well. This can include cracks in the paw pads from exposure to the harsh conditions. You may want to consider adding a supplement to their food if you notice anything out of the ordinary to help maintain the health of their skin or coat. If you discover any particular dryness or cracking on extremities such as the ears, tail or paws, coconut oil can be safely applied as necessary.
Keep Their Environment Safe: Wherever your dog is playing, you want to make sure that they are safe. At home, this can include watching for any spills on the driveway or in the garage, particularly of antifreeze. Antifreeze has a sweet taste to animals, and they often try to drink it. Just a small amount can be fatal, so be sure to keep your dog away from areas they can be exposed to it. In outdoor areas, keep them on a leash, or close to you. They can easily run into an unsafe area, including snow-covered rivers or ponds that may not be completely frozen.
Make Your Yard Comfortable: You likely put your dog outside in the yard more often than you bring them for a walk. Your yard should be a safe place for them to play and take care of business. You can help by shovelling out a path and an area of the yard to assist them with getting through the snow. Avoid piling snow against fences, as it can be tempting for your dog to climb up and over. If at all possible, clean off your roof as snow and ice gather, as it can fall off on a sunny day or if the temperature rises, potentially injuring your dog.
Bring Them Inside: A good rule to follow is if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s probably too cold for your dog as well. Take breaks when you’re outside with them to get warm and rehydrated, and when the time comes that you’re ready to return indoors, it’s likely your dog will be too.
With the cold weather only beginning and likely to get worse, there’s no better time to schedule an In-Home Consultation. Available for scheduling any day between 9 A.M. and 7 P.M., these sessions help to determine what training your dog needs by evaluating them in their natural habitat as opposed to taking them to a new environment where they may not behave the same way. Providing an opportunity to discuss challenges you’re facing with your dog and ask any questions you may have, a consultation session is an excellent way to get started on the path to a better-behaved pet.
To schedule a consultation, or to learn more about what other training services we offer, contact or call the professionals from Alpha Paws at 1-877-868-5248 (PAWS) today.