Dogs and winter, how to keep them safe.

Dogs and winter, how to keep them safe.

Our canine friends are also affected by the cold weather and we need to remember to make some adjustments to our routines to keep them safe too.  Dogs of all breeds are affected by the cold and even the heartiest breeds need to be considered in the winter months.

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Protect their feet

Dogs can be very sensitive to cold feet, booties offer some protection from the elements and prevent snow build up between the pads.  Various types of booties are available from simple rubber to insulated winter boots.  Dogs often need some time adjusting to boots but most will with time.  It is best to introduce them to the boots inside first so they aren’t wasting valuable outside time fighting with the boots rather than relieving themselves.  Another important consideration during the winter is the salts feet are exposed to while on walks.  Sidewalk salts can be very irritating to paws.  If you have been walking your dog and notice there has been salted sidewalks it is advisable to rinse your pets feet with water when you get home.  This prevents the irritation on the feet as well as ingestion of the salts.

Outdoor Dogs

We understand that some dogs are outdoor only.  In the winter months these dogs require adequate shelter to get away from the elements.  A well insulated dog house or access to a barn or entry to the home all are sufficient.  Every pet needs the option to hide from the snow and cold if needed.  Another thing to consider that is sometimes missed is the extra calories required to keep warm.  Pets that are outside working during these cold days and primarily outdoor pets may require additional calories.  We burn food to keep warm, monitor your pet closely and offer more food if required.  Water is also important and should be ensured that there is a source of fresh unfrozen water available at all times.

Older Dogs

As the cold weather sets in many dogs may begin to move slower and become stiff and sore.  The change in activity and the cold weather can cause older pets to suffer more from stiff and sore joints.  In the winter closely monitor your pets weight, additional pounds often accumulate in the winter due to decreased activity.  Adjust the food to keep excess weight off your pet and off those stiff and sore joints.  Soft heated beds are often appreciated by those dogs suffering the effects of winter and it is easy to provide.  If you are noticing that your pet seems uncomfortable and the tips above are not helping please contact your veterinarian and speak to them about supplements, rehab exercises, acupuncture, laser therapy or pain management.

What do you do to keep your dog comfortable during the long Alberta winters?

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