Dressing Your Dog for Winter

Although it may be fun to play in the snow with our pets, it’s important to keep in mind how cold it is outside. The windchill can be harmful and some dogs –especially short-haired, can be more susceptible to the cold than others.

Some people think that a coat on a dog, especially a large dog, isn’t necessary. Think again! It’s important to keep our pets warm, so think about going to your local pet store and finding a coat that might be best suited for your pet. Sometimes a sweater will help too. Having a coat or sweater on your pet can actually help to keep your pet dry. Remember to not leave a damp coat on your pet after a walk, as this can cause them to become sick or matted. Regular brushing after a walk can help them stay mat-free.

A puppy’s ears, paw pads and tails are the most susceptible to the cold, and frostbite can occur. This damages the skin and other tissues when there is overexposure to extreme cold. It is crucial to never rub the affected area, but to warm it with warm water or moist towels. If you notice your puppy is suffering from frostbite, see your veterinarian immediately.

Those little booties people put on their dogs look silly, but do they really work?

A puppy’s paws can get burned from hot pavement or road salt, frozen on snow and ice, and cut by thorns, grass burrs and glass. Puppy boots may help to prevent these injuries. You’ll find a wide range of colours and styles available. Some have Velcro closures, others offer stretch cuffs, some are waterproof, and still others have reflective materials or skid-proof soles. There are even booties that are designed to be the “perfect” fashion accessory.

Before you choose, though, make sure they fit. If they’re too big, they’ll fly off when your puppy runs; if they’re too small, he will try to chew them off. And because he’s growing, you need to check the fit often. Remember, too, that in addition to panting, one way dogs cool themselves is by releasing heat through their paws. Be sure to remove the boots when he comes inside so his paws can air out.

Hopefully this winter season goes by fast, but in the meantime, let’s keep our pets safe and happy!