When most of us think of the effects of the cold weather, we think about turning up the thermostats in our homes, taking steps to prevent the pipes from freezing and bundling up in our warmest winter wear when we leave the house. But, what most of us don’t think about is how the cold weather affects our dogs. After all, dogs have warm fur coats, so they don’t need any special care or attention during the winter, right? Wrong! The cold affects our four-legged friends in so many different ways. And, when you’re out walking your dog on a cold, blustery, New York City day, there are certain precautions you’ll need to take to protect your pooch. Here is a list of tips from our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens to help you protect your dog this winter:
Even though your dog is covered in fur, it doesn’t make them immune to the cold. Of course, some breeds handle the cold weather better than others, but in general, if the temperature outside is too cold for you, there’s a good chance that it’s also too cold for your dog. If you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, and your dog is a shorter-haired breed, like a Greyhound or a Chihuahua, consider investing in a jacket or sweater to keep them cozy and warm. And, when you come inside after playing in the snow, help your dog warm up quicker by toweling them off.
When the weather is really nasty out, don’t force your dog to spend too much time outside. Even dogs that have been bred to pull sleds in the coldest parts of the world, such as Malamutes, Huskies, Chinooks and Samoyeds, aren’t meant to stay outside in the cold indefinitely. So, limit your dog’s time outside to when you need to exercise them or let them relieve themselves. And, even then, if it’s really cold outside, you might need to consider going on a shorter walk.
Every time you walk or play with your dog outside, make it a point to wipe down their paws when you bring them inside. Snow or ice can bet stuck in the hairs in between your dog’s pads, which can make their paws uncomfortable and make it hard for them to walk. Additionally, rock salt is commonly used to prevent ice from building up on streets and sidewalks, but it can chap your dog’s paws. Antifreeze is also commonly used to in the winter, and can be picked up on your dog’s paws. It has a sweet taste that is attractive to dogs, but, it’s also very poisonous and can be lethal if it’s ingested. Keep your dog safe and protect their sensitive paws by wiping them off every time you come inside, or better yet train them to wear dog boots.
We hope these tips will help you enjoy a fun, safe winter with your furry friend, and to learn more winter safety tips for your dog, stay tuned for our next blog. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re located conveniently in Carroll Gardens, and our new, state-of-the-art animal hospital offers everything from vaccinations and annual examinations to pet surgery and dentistry. We’re truly your go-to source for veterinary care, and we look forward to caring for your dog!