Date: December 22nd, 2010
1) Does your dog need outdoor gear?
Let’s face it, dogs either love winter or they don’t. Many of the big dogs with thick coats are pretty prepared when prancing in the snow. You just have to keep a watchful eye on their feet and their outdoor habits.
If your dog is smaller with shorter hair, or older, a soft dog sweater and booties might be the required winter wear for their ultimate enjoyment. The sweater will keep him warm during his daily walks, and the booties will prevent cuts on his paw pads, create traction for ice, and also prohibit chemicals such as antifreeze, salt and other de-icers from getting on his paws.
Remember, it might take time and some bribing to get the booties on, but have patience!
2) Do you have a glowing leash?
Glowing dog leashes, dog vests and flashing lights on both owner and pet are a great buy, and have become very popular with dog owners! They are wonderful during both the darkness of early morning and evening walks.
3) Watch out for puddles!
Don’t let your pet drink from puddles in the winter; they could easily be filled with toxic salts and chemicals, which are harmful if digested.
4) Watch out for frostbite!
Be watchful of frostbite in the most common areas, such as the tips of the ears and tail. If you suspect your pet suffers from it, get in touch with a veterinarian right away.
5) Stay away from lakes.
Keep your pet away from frozen lakes. Keeping them on leash would ensure this. I can personally attest to this. When I was younger, I had a lab mix, Amber, that ran onto the frozen lake (Brady’s Pond, Staten Island) in our backyard to chase some ducks. The lake was not fully frozen yet, so she fell threw the ice right in the center of the lake. Thank goodness for my father and uncle because they saved Amber’s life! They took our aluminum boat and chopped there way slowly to her. Even though the outcome was miraculous, the process of saving my dog was grueling and very dangerous, so watch your pups!
6) When you get back home from being outside:
If your dog does not have booties, be sure to have an old wet, warm towel to remove the residue of mud, ice, and street chemicals picked up from the walk. Use a dry towel to then dry your pet’s paws, legs and belly. Give close attention to removing ice caught between the paw pads. If you don’t wash this dirt from your pet’s paws, the dog will be licking it off two minutes after you get in the door.
It’s going to be a cold winter, so follow these tips and keep your pets safe!