Winter is in full swing in many parts of the country. This is a photo (few years ago) of my two English Setter boys, Griffin - 6 and Bentley - 10 (11 on 12/16/09) on the winter dunes of Lake Michigan. None of us are fans of cold, wintry weather but we do try to make the best of it. So, I thought I'd start with some suggestions for keeping your dog safe and comfortable during the snow season.
- Consider a pair (or two) of boots for your dog for use during extremes of snow and cold. Ice can cut foot pads and rocks or other potential dangers hidden under snow can cause cuts, abrasions and torn toenails. When first applying boots, be prepared with a video camera to capture the funny antics your dog is likely to display. It can create quite a laughable few moments.An option to boots is paw wax such as Musher's Secret. This will reduce ice buildup and help any accumulation come off easily. Keep hair on feet trimmed flush with the pads too.
- If you jog, hike, or cross country ski with your dog, be aware of his health and age. Don’t overdue it in cold, blustery weather conditions. Be on the lookout for hidden hazards such as thin ice that may appear solid or snow drifts the dog could fall into. If your pet is a “senior” the stress of this type of exercise could be dangerous.
Exercise temporarily elevates body temperature, but over time -- especially if the hair becomes wet -- the dog will lose body heat. Shivering is the earliest indication your dog it too cold. Don’t leave your dog outdoors after cold-weather exercise. Dry him thoroughly and let him rest indoors with you in a warm place.
- Dogs dehydrate as quickly in winter as they do in summer. They can’t get enough fluid simply by eating snow, so provide access to clean water.
- Never leave your dog alone in a car for more than 30 minutes (less in extreme cold). A car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold. Your dog could literally freeze to death.
That's it for now. Please feel free to offer comments and any suggestions you may have. This blogging thing is a whole new adventure for me so it may be clumsy at first. I'll accept any constructive help I can get. Thanks for reading.