Whether you are a new dog owner, or a seasoned pet owner, before winter roles firmly in, it is time to review your winter set up for your dog or dogs to make sure you are creating a safe and comfortable winter environment. In the upper Midwest it isn’t uncommon for the temperatures to fall well below zero, but these same tips are helpful even in milder climates.
Before all things, you should know your dog including health and age as well as your dog’s breed hardiness for colder climates. If your dog is a Saint Bernard or Siberian Husky, for example, they can handle colder temperatures, snow, and longer periods outside than say a Pug or Boxer. These are generalized tips and not hard and fast rules for all dogs.
Here are some great tips that you can easily do to keep your dog safe in the winter:
- Limit time outside: It is important to know the amount of time your dog has been outside and to monitor it. If you’re an easily distracted person set a timer so you don’t forget your four-legged friend is outside waiting for you.
- Supply proper protection: We know most dogs don’t really want to wear clothing, but for trips outside in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit it is a good rule of thumb to consider a dog jacket and/or booties. Some breeds should have these tools available for anything below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Provide shelter: A dog should never be left outside in the cold with no option for shelter. Provide a windproof and waterproof shelter with dry bedding. If you can get the floor off the ground, it will supply added warmth for your pooch.
- Heated water/food bowl: It is always important to be sure your dog has access to fresh and clean water. When temperatures drop below zero that can become difficult to provide. Heated water and/or dog food bowls are available and will keep your dog’s thirst in check.
- Watch the ice-melt: Ice salt is only mildly poisonous to dogs, but it can irritate their paws, skin, and if consumed, their intestinal track. Do your best to keep your dog’s away from ice melt or consider ice melt that is made specifically to keep your pet safe. If you do have ice melt out, it is a great idea to consider using a damp cloth to clean your dog’s paws after being outside.
- Stay away from heaters: While heaters sound like a great way to keep your dog warm in the winter, the risks of fire or injury to your pet is simply too great. Avoid using heaters in dog shelters.
- Where is the Antifreeze: Winter is the time when we drag out antifreeze, which unfortunately has a sweet taste that many dogs love. Antifreeze is extremely toxic to dogs and even a few teaspoons can cause kidney failure. ALWAYS keep your antifreeze away from your pets.
- Know frostbite signs: While your dog can get frostbite anywhere on their body, the most common areas include tail tip, toes, vulva, prepuce or ears. Watch for swelling, redness, coolness to touch or noticeable damage to the tissue.
- Healthy food: A dog who is well simply fairs better under any circumstances, including weather. Keep your dog healthy by providing them with quality food.
- The Vet: Keep your dogs healthy and safe in the winter by staying up to date with all shots and visits to your veterinarian.
At Mimbach Fleet and Supply we know how important the health of your pet is and we take your pet’s health very seriously. Our helpful and knowledgeable staff are here to aid you in finding the best tools to keep your dog, or any pet, safe and happy all seasons of the year. Our pet food and supply department carry foods, treats, pet toys and more from top brands such as Purina, Blue Buffalo, Kaytee, Greenies, Victor, Diamond, Nutrisource and Taste of the Wild.
There is always so much to consider when it comes to the safety of your pet(s) that we urge you to talk to your vet about your specific pet(s) safety during winter months.