Winter Playtime Tips for You and Your Dog

Protect Your Pup from the Winter Weather

Winter is upon us and with it comes snow and freezing weather.  Just as people need to keep active, healthy, and—of course—warm in during these colder months, dogs need extra help as well.

To protect your pup in winter weather….

Keep your dog on leash in the snow and ice.  Dogs can easily lose their scent in the snow, so never let your dog off-leash during a snowstorm, or when there’s ice or snow on the ground.  If you’re walking near “frozen” ponds, lakes, or streams, remember ice is not always uniformly thick or stable, and your pup could fall through into frigid water if he or she is allowed to explore off-leash.

Wipe your dog’s paws AND stomach when he’s been outside in the snow or sleet. Sidewalks are often treated with rock salt, antifreeze, and other dangerous chemicals. Not only are these bad for your pet’s paws, but if ingested these chemicals are often poisonous. Make sure your pet does not lick his paws or stomach before you’ve wiped them down.

Prepare your pup for the elements. If your dog typically has a longer coat, let it grow for the winter. A longer coat provides more warmth and protection from colder temperatures. If your dog has a short coat, make sure to get him a coat or a sweater.  Just like you, he’ll enjoy the outdoors much more if he isn’t shivering.

Don’t leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. Many dogs love a car ride to their favorite park or play area, just remember the warm temperatures inside your vehicle don’t stick around for very long once the engine is off.  As the thermometer plummets, your car can act like a refrigerator and your dog can freeze to death.

Pay attention to protein.  If your dog spends a lot of time outside, playing, running, or going for long walks, make sure he’s getting enough protein. Among other benefits, protein helps maintain a healthy coat.  And a coat in excellent condition will keep him nice and warm while he frolics in the snow!

While it’s not always easy to get excited about going outside in the freezing cold, nothing beats the winter blues like watching your dog plow through the fluffy stuff.   If your dog likes to play in the snow, go ahead and join him!

There’s probably nothing that he’d like better than to have his best friend (that’s you) play fetch in the snow or just run around with him—it’s great exercise and bonding for you both.

12-31 Wintertime Snow Play Tips_Photo

Photo: The Ski Channel

For more helpful tips about dog and cat health and behavior, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips