As Winter approaches, it's important to think of your pets. Below are some tips to keep your dog comfortable and safe during the cold winter months:
1. Use Pet Safe Salt
A lot of regular snow and ice salt can contain chemicals that are very harmful to your pet. They can contract "Salt poisoning" if they ingest the salt. Regular salt can also irritate their paws, which could cause infection. Buying pet safe salt will eliminate most of the risk. However, you cannot guarantee that everyone is using pet safe salt on their sidewalks. When you take your dog for a walk in the winter, make sure to wipe down their paws once you return home. If your dog is okay with their paws being touched, you can invest in some doggy booties.
2. Give Your Pet Shelter
You shouldn't leave your pet outside in the cold for long lengths of time. Though, you may have a dog that never wants to come in when you call them. Providing them a shelter free from the cold and wind is essential. This will reduce their risk of frostbite and windburn.
3. Know Your Dog
Some dogs are more adept to the cold than others. Knowing this will help with your frustration when they don't come when called and help with their happiness. If you have a Husky or Alaskan Malamute, they may want to stay outside for longer lengths of time. Their thick winter fur protects them from the elements. If you have a Chihuahua or a dog with thinner fur, you may not want to leave them outside for more than a couple minutes. If you do have a smaller dog, getting them a coat may be worth it. As long as they are willing to wear it, of course.
4. Keep Antifreeze Away
Antifreeze is dangerous to all animals. Be sure to keep this put away and out of reach of animals. Animals are attracted to antifreeze because it tastes sweet. It may taste sweet, but it is VERY toxic to animals.
5. Check Under the Hood
More than likely you will not find a dog under the hood of your car, but do this as a general rule in order to keep all animals safe. Stray animals will be attracted to warmth and under the hood of your car is seems like a cozy place to cats, raccoons, etc.
6. Use Coconut Oil to Prevent Frostbite and Damage
Please, consult your vet before applying coconut oil anywhere on your dog's body. Coconut oil has many benefits for your dog's paws in the winter. Putting coconut oil can help them be more comfortable by adding moisture to their dry, cracked winter paws. Having a thin layer of the oil can also provide them with protection from salt and frostbite while out for a walk.
7. Stand Up for Other Dogs
If you see another dog outside for long amounts of time and has no shelter, speak up! No dog should ever be left out in the cold without proper shelter. You can call your local Humane Society to get their opinion of the situation and they will take care of it from that point.