Winter can be a great time filled with a variety of activities to share with our furry friends. Pet parents should know, however, that they need to be proactive throughout the season to keep their dogs safe as they look to enjoy quality time with them. Here, Freshpet explores a few tips to help pet parents keep their dogs feeling happy and healthy through the rest of the colder months.
Keep Them Warm!
While there are certainly a lot of steps involved with keeping your dog healthy and safe throughout the winter season, the most important involves keeping them properly warm. Simple steps such as lowering walk times during especially cold days, including indoor play time, keeping your dog dry, and investing in winter coat or even booties can all be effective ways to keep them warm all season long. Remember, a good rule of thumb is that if it is too cold for you, it is likely cold for your dog as well. Take that into account when taking steps to keep them safe and warm.
Watch out for Chemicals
Products such as rock salt and antifreeze can be extremely harmful to our dogs if ingested. Rock salt may not be toxic, but it can certainly upset a dog’s stomach and cause cracking and irritation on their paw pads. Antifreeze is toxic, but the fact that it tastes sweet may interest dogs who are passing by puddles of it during the winter. Pet parents can be proactive about avoiding potentially harmful chemicals by keeping an eye out for them while they are out on walks. Blue or green-colored puddles specifically are likely antifreeze or a similar toxic chemical. Rock salt can be harder to avoid because it is used heavily before snowstorms, but simply wiping off your dog’s paws before they come inside can help remove salt while also warming up their paws.
Adjust Their Diet Accordingly
Freshpet dog food reviews speak to how feeding your pet the correct type and amount of food is crucial to their continued health. Pet parents may find that their dogs require more or less food depending on several factors. For example, dogs that remain very active in winter and are spending a lot of time outdoors may need slightly higher caloric intake to stay a healthy weight. Dogs that are living more sedentary lives during the colder months may require less food as they are burning less calories. Because there are many factors that may influence how much you feed your furry friend throughout the winter, it is important to consult your veterinarian before making any large changes to their diet. They can always let you know if you are on the right track with your feeding schedules.
Look Out for Signs of Frostbite or Hypothermia
One of the best ways to stay proactive regarding your dog’s health during winter months is to know the signs of complications such as hypothermia and frostbite. While these issues are thankfully rare for pets that spend their time indoors, they can be fatal or leave lasting complications if left to progress. Experts note that signs of hypothermia include muscle stiffness, weakness, and difficulty breathing, while frostbite often leads to skin discoloration, blisters, cold skin, swelling, and patches of dead skin. If you recognize any of the signs, move your dog to a warm area and be sure to call your vet ASAP.