Cold Weather Dog Safety Tips
Keep your dog safe during the winter season! Follow these top five cold weather wellness tips.
1. Avoid Rock Salted Roads and Sidewalks
The salt that helps melt ice and snow is heavy with chemicals that can burn your dog’s paws and fur. If you know that there are sidewalks and roads that use traditional rock salt to de-ice, try to avoid them. If you can’t, consider putting snow boots on your dog to protect their paw pads from the highly-corrosive salt.
You can find dog-friendly salt at most pet and hardware stores. These use a different type of salt to get rid of ice and snow, but they’re safe for your dog to walk on without being burned or cut.
2. Limit Outdoor Time in Periods of Extreme Cold
Dogs, even though they have fur, are not capable of staying outside overnight or for long periods of time when the temperatures dip well below freezing. A 30-minute walk is good. So are shorter bouts of walking or outside play when the weather is unbearably cold.
Dogs love to play in the snow, but much like children, they should be supervised and brought inside after 20-minutes or so. Doggie paws suffer frostbite just like human hands, and fur can get wet and freeze, too.
After playing in the snow, take them inside, towel dry them, and let them lay in blankets. They’ll naturally gravitate toward the best heat sources like in front of the fireplace or near the radiator. This is fine as long as they don’t get too close.
3. Feed Them More in the Cold
Here’s one tip your dog won’t argue with: during the cold winter months, you can feed them extra to help keep them warm.
Basically, your dog will burn more calories in cold weather just to keep themselves warm. This means that they’re using more calories day-to-day. During cold spells, it’s totally fine to feed them a bit extra. It’s an added bonus if you supplement their food with bone broths, pumpkin, and other natural foods. If you’re unsure if your dog can have certain foods, please consult with your veterinarian.
4. Bathe Them Less
Another dog-approved tip. Bathing too much removes essential oils from your dog’s skin. Those oils are needed to insulate their body. Unless they really need it, try to avoid baths.
5. No Sleeping Outside
Even if your dog loves to sleep on the back porch during nice weather, they’re not safe outside in below freezing temperatures. Every year dogs are found frozen to death because they were left outside. Sleeping on the ground, or even a dog bed, does not provide enough heat to keep them safe. If it’s too cold for you to sleep outside, it’s too cold for your dog!
If your dog needs to sleep overnight at a daycare or boarding facility, make sure the place lets them sleep inside. This can literally save your dog’s life.