With the well-below-zero temperatures upon us and the already frequent threat of snowfalls, it’s important to remember our dogs this time of year.
With the necessity to go outside to relieve themselves and for occasional exercise, these frigid temperatures can be a bit of a challenge, ever for larger woolly hounds.
I own a seven-year-old whippet, and last winter I had many challenges keeping her warm and keeping her feet protected. As I bundle myself up in my own winter coat, scarf, toque and mittens, I can’t help but think, “Boy, if I can’t handle the cold, how can she?”
Understanding that each breed is different, but if you have a less furry breed, here are a few quick tips to keep your dogs warm, healthy and happy through the winter season.
Purchase a sweater or a lined coat to provide an extra layer of warmth, specifically for the shorthaired breeds. If your dog is as lean as my whippet, it may be necessary to provide a layer over their legs as well. Polar fleece is the best option for keeping warmth close to their bodies.
Invest in dog boots that have proper traction, so that your dog won’t suffer from any reactions from the cold, salt and snow-removal chemicals that are often placed on walkways and sidewalks. Dog boots also protect the paws from the ice and snow that tends to ball up in the fur between the footpads.
If you do not use dog boots, frequently check the paw pads for cuts and cracks, and clean their paws thoroughly to remove unwanted salts and chemicals. As dogs tend to lick their paws, this will avoid and adverse reactions from ingestion of those substances.
Be sure your dog is eating regularly. They use a lot of energy to keep warm in these conditions, and therefore they are burning fuel.
While indoors, keep their sleeping areas dry and away from areas with drafts, such as beneath window sills or near doorways.
As a result of these few simple measures, Iluka is now a happy winter whippet and enjoys going outside despite the cold.
So, enjoy the holiday season, take care of yourselves, take care of each other and remember the dogs, too.
Karen N. Klein, Surrey