Sorry, we don'y usually cuss in our blogs, but it has become the sad truth. the "W" word is right around the corner! Fallen yellow leaves now blanket the roads and sidewalks, warning us about the inevitable coldness coming our way. If you are a new dog owner or a veteran, we can use the fall season to prepare our four legged friends for the winter snow! With the right equipment, we can breeze right through winter without breaking a cold sweat!
Research Your Dog Breed
If you have not done already, the first thing you should do is research your dog breed! Some dogs require more or less care than others during the winter months depending on the breed. A large heavy-coat dog like a Bernese mountain dog does not require any extra core insulation in the winter, assuming the dog is spending appropriate hours outdoors. However, if you are a proud owner of a greyhound, chihuahua or another short-hair slender dog, you should invest in some thermal gear to help them through the winter! If you cannot find anything about your dog breed online, or your dog breed is unknown, please bring your dog to Pisces Pet Emporium for an expert opinion on how much protection your dog may need!
Time For A Coat!
Would you go outside in the winter without a jacket? Probably not, and the same holds true for your dog! It is no surprise that the winters up here in Canada can be brutal and most dogs will need some extra help staying warm. Jackets can assist small dogs, dogs with short fur and older dogs with weaker immune systems. A good, high-quality sweater (Pisces recommends: Chillydogs Knit Sweaters) will be a great help and allow your dog to beat the cold, to a point. Prolonged exposure to cold weather may cause a cold or hypothermia. While the cold temperatures will not five your dog a cold directly, It does create perfect circumstances for germs to latch on to your dog. Keep an eye out for sneezing, coughing, red eyes and loss of appetite. Dogs react to the cold air like humans do, they will shiver, whimper and move slower. If your dog is showing these symptoms, it is time to come inside! Shorter walks should be taken in the cold air for your dogs comfort.
Proper Foot Protection
A good pair of dog booties are a great start to getting suited for winter. Large or small, Long or short hair, every dog should be fitted with a pair of winter boots. Besides keeping your dogs feet warm, they also will keep your dog from slipping & sliding on the ice during walks or play time in the dog park (Pisces recommends: Muttluks Fleece-lined Boots).Thick, hairy paws are likely to collect snowballs if not covered, which can lead to frostbite. Besides being warm and comfortable, the boots will keep your dog safe from salt and de-icers. These chemicals used by the city to melt and de-ice the sidewalks and roads can be toxic to your dog if ingested. A dog can ingest these chemicals by waling on the roads barefoot, and then licking its paws during or after the walk. Even with boots on, it doesn't hurt to give your dogs paws a cleaning after each outdoor adventure! Click here to view proper boot sizing for online purchases.
Winter Toxic Products
Antifreeze tastes surprisingly good to a dogs palate, and will likely try to ingest some if given the opportunity. The symptoms of antifreeze ingestion include loss of balance, excessive water consumption, abdominal sensitivity ans seizures. Unfortunately, by the time you key in to these symptoms it may already be too late. Keep your antifreeze containers out of pets reach and make sure there is no leaks or spillage around the bottle opening. The most common way dogs ingest antifreeze is from licking puddles off the driveway or garage floor. Make sure to do a thorough clean of the floor around and under your vehicle radiator after use of antifreeze. If you suspect your dog has consumed antifreeze, take your dog to a vet or emergency animal hospital immediately.
Keeping Your Dog Warm Indoors
Not everybody has the same insulation in their homes. I remember my old apartment freezing at night in the winter! Depending on your living scenario, you may or may not need a little something extra indoors to keep your pup cozy through the winter. Pisces Recommends: Lectro-Kennel Heating Pad for a comfortable cushion your dog can use to get warm and cozy whenever the feeling strikes. When bathing, make sure your dog is completely dry before letting him or her venture outside. Use warm water and dry your dog as quickly as possible. Avoid trimming, shaving our cutting your dogs hair during the fall/winter. A dogs natural full weight coat is your dogs natural main defense against the brisk winter. Don't forget to keep up proper hygiene and good grooming, matted hair is less efficient at retaining heat and keeping cold air out!