Tips to keep your dog safe and warm on winter walks

By Bradley Schneider, DOGTIME Canine Recreation Company

Now that we are into the cold winter months here are some tips to help keep your dogs warm and safe.

When taking your dog outside in freezing temperatures, short-haired dogs should  wear a sweater or jacket, even large breeds. Our Dobe, for example, loves to play in the snow but always wears his warm jacket.

For smaller breeds, a warm jacket along with little booties to keep there paws warm is a good idea. When looking for booties, it’s always best to bring your dog to your favourite pet supply store to try them on to make sure they are the right fit.

If they are too big they will be uncomfortable and will likely fall off. If you choose not to use booties, watch your dog carefully — lots of leg lifting means freezing paws. If this happens while on a walk, you’ll need to END the walk and get your dog back inside to warm up. Your dog may not be able to walk back so you’ll have to carry him.

Salt used to melt ice on sidewalks and roadways is harmful to delicate paws. There are pet friendly de-icers you can buy at pet supply stores to use on your deck, driveway and sidewalks.

Once you’re back from your walk, check your dog’s paws for any snow or ice that has clumped to the pad of the paw. Those clumps of snow or ice can cause frostbite. To help prevent snow from building up, keep the hair on the bottom of the paw trimmed.

If your dog’s paws are really cold, DON’T rub them, just hold the paws in your hand to warm them up.

Always keep your dog well hydrated and if he’s spending lots of time outside you may want to increase his food intake because he will be burning more calories to stay warm.