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Whether you live where temperatures dip to freezing or reside in a milder climate, winter can bring some challenges for both you and your dog. Take the extra precautions this season to keep you and your furry friends safe and cozy, regardless of the temperatures.
Know your dog and its breed:
Certain breeds are born to roam outside for long periods in the cold. Often they have dense coats which insulate them. These include:
* Alaskan Malamutes
* Eskimo Dogs
* Chow Chows
* Bernese Mountain Dogs
* German Shepherds
* Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs
* Great Pyrenees
* Norwegian Elkhounds
* Saint Bernards
* Siberian Huskies
* And more!
Just because your dog is strutting around in a fur coat does not mean he likes the cold -- every dog differs in its tolerance of temperature. A common misconception, all short-haired dogs like the heat! Another, is that all black dogs like the cold! What's important as pet parents is to recognize signs your dog may be cold, including shivering or begging to come inside. Just as you may be taking your sweaters, coats, and scarves out of storage, consider investing in one for your dog!
Check Their Paws. Although certain breeds have tougher paws than others, ice and snow can get caught up in the webbing between toes or even cut toe pads. Just like humans, dogs can get frostbite and hypothermia! Some symptoms of this may include swelling, blackened or dead skin, and/or discoloration of the skin (mainly pale, gray or bluish). If your pet will spend a considerable amount of time outside this winter, consider purchasing dog booties!
Toxins, Not For Dogs. If you use ice melt around your home, be sure to purchase a product that is approved for use around pets, or be sure your dog stays off it! Also, keep your dog clear from antifreeze as it is extremely toxic, and be careful of other popular and helpful winter products!
Sunburns. Yes, dogs get sunburns too! Especially light-furred and pale-skinned pets! Remember you don’t have to be at the beach to get a sunburn. Dogs can easily be injured in Winter as their fur and skin catches the reflection of the sun off snow or ice. Purchase and use a pet-safe sunscreen, especially for those lighter-haired dogs!
Space Heaters. If you're supplementing your heat with a space heater, keep it out of reach of your dog. Pets can be easily burned or accidentally knock it over and cause a fire.
Frozen Lakes. If you live near a lake, pond, or creek, keep close eyes on your dog. Dogs have been known to fall through thin ice and get trapped. Ice skating is definitely not a sport for dogs! Keeping your dog's nails trimmed as helps reduce the chances of slipping and sliding around.
Dry Eyes. The winter months can be drier, causing conjunctivitis, mucoid discharge, or irritated painful eyes. If your dog struggles with dry eyes, consult your local veterinarian about eye lubricants.