Winter is Here… Dog Awareness

As we awake to a bitterly cold morning, snow on the ground for some of us, the emotions can be a little bit mixed.  Snow can be an absolute nightmare for those of us defrosting cars in time for work, for others, it is a dream in the month of December.  Especially after all of the rain that we have experienced this year.  However, it does mean that temperatures have plummeted and we ourselves are applying additional measures to keep our homes warm.  As any dog owner knows, winter conditions can also have an adverse affect on our 4 legged friends.  Hence why we need to have some dog awareness.

We own a Siberian Husky, JD.  We will be the first to tell anyone how much he loves the sight of snow.  JD will look out of the window, excitable to want to play in it.  If he is surrounded by snow, his eyes turn a fantastic crystal blue and you can see the utter happiness in his face.  But we also need to consider the safety factors and ensure that all of our pets that are exposed to outside, remain safe and happy.

We have done some research and thought it would be a good idea to document some of our findings, not to say that we know everything, far from it.  If anything, it is an interesting read and will help pet owners, including ourselves to give that little bit extra for our pets…

Looking after the extremities…

Consider shorter, more frequent walks to reduce exposure to the elements.  People are also getting jackets for their dogs.  For some,  they will also use a pair of booties, covering their dog’s paws and keeping some heat in.  If you have a dog like ours, a dog who doesn’t even like the idea of a bootie, just ensure that you rinse down their paws after they have been out for a walk.  Also ensure that if your dog has managed to soak their coat, give them a dry off.  Salt can burn the pads and be toxic if left unattended.  De-icer is also a toxin and to be wary of.

Diet…

Consider how you are feeding your pet.  If you find your dog is more energetic because it is more busy playing in the snow, calorie intake may need to be increased.  If, however, you have a dog who doesn’t want to go out into the freezing elements, they will require less calories as they are not exercising as much as normal.

Keep them entertained…

So you have a dog who is refusing to spend time outside in the cold to get their daily exercise.  Get them playing inside.  Provide them with mental stimulation and interactive puzzles.  If you have ever taken your dog to ‘doggie school’, you will have noticed how tired they are that night.  This is because they have had to work hard learning that new behaviour during school.  Kongs, snuffle mats, treasure hunts around the house, hide and seek are all good examples of exercises you and your dog can do inside.  Just remember to apply supervision when necessary.

Block off heat sources…

This doesn’t mean stop the heating from working in your house.  It means try guarding the stove or radiators so that your pets don’t try to seek direct heat from the sources.  Although you think you are doing well by letting them sit directly next to the fire to keep them warm, the risks of burn can be worse.

Keep that bed nice and cosy…

Ensure that your pet always has access to a nice cosy bed.  Just because they have a fur coat, doesn’t mean that they won’t ever get cold.  It is likely that if it is too cold for you to be standing outside, it will be too cold for them.  Allowing them to retire to a nice cosy bed will keep them happy and warm.

 

The list could go on… but hopefully there is enough here to get you started.  Just remember that winter can be as dangerous as summer.  Don’t leave your dogs freezing in the car whilst you go into the warm shops.

Enjoy your day, enjoy putting that tree up in the hope that your pet doesn’t bring it back down… feel free to even have a nosey through our website! We cover dog walking, dog training, pet sitting and dog grooming.  Get in contact if you have any questions.

Just remember to Paws… and Relax…

Amanda & Dave

 

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