19 Dec 2018 Tips for Taking Your Dog Outside in the Snowy Weather
Winter is upon us, but that shouldn’t stop you and your dog from spending some quality time outdoors. Taking your pet outdoors in the winter can help get both you some much needed exercise, avoid boredom from being cooped up indoors, and fight the winter blues. But before you and your pet venture out in the snow, read these tips for taking your dog outside in the snowy weather.
Get a Winter Wellness Exam
Consulting with your vet is a great place to start to figure out your pet’s specific health needs when it comes to the cold weather. Some conditions like arthritis are made worse by being exposed to the cold, and vets may recommend that you limit your pet’s time outdoors during the winter. Your pet should be taken to the vet at least once a year for a wellness exam. Doing a wellness exam during or before the winter months can give you a chance to ask your vet if your pet is healthy enough to be playing out in the cold and what precautions you should be taking.
Know Your Pet’s Limits
Much like people, some pets are more tolerant of the cold than others. It’s important to watch your pet’s behavior when you take them out into the cold. If they are shivering and wanting to go back inside, that’s a warning sign that they aren’t fans of being outside. Some pets on the other hand will be excited to run around in the snow and are more than fine with the cold temperature. Things like your pets size, age, body fat, and fur length are all factors in how tolerant of the cold they will be.
Check Your Dog’s Paws
Make sure you check your dog’s paws frequently during the winter months, especially when you’re walking or playing outside. Injuries like a cracked pad or bleeding can be a sign that their paws got too cold or ice accumulated between their toes. You also have to be wary of salts that are used on sidewalks and roads to clear ice. These chemicals can be dangerous and pose a threat to your pet’s paw health. Along with keeping an eye on your pet while outside, you can also try dog snow booties to help minimize damage and keep their paws toasty.
Break Out the Clothes
If your dog has shorter fur or shows signs of being uncomfortable in the cold weather, you can always try playing dress up in pet jackets and sweaters. There’s a misconception that because dogs have fur they can tolerate the cold better than humans. This is not always true and in fact many dogs, especially short-haired dogs, need extra layers of protection to be comfortable. Just make sure you always put on a dry coat or sweater on your dog before you go out, wet clothes can make them even more cold.