Black LabThey are calling for some more bad weather here at the farm.  The issue came up because R.D. (our elderly canine) was shaking.  Was it arthritis setting in his pelvis he had broken when he was young?  Was he in pain? Had he heard something and was afraid or was he just chilled to the bone?   I jumped right on the Internet and went to pecking away.  These are some facts that I learned about how to protect our K-9s in the cold weather and snow.

Provide Good Shelter

If you have to keep your dog outside be sure to give them a dry place to sleep.  Provide them with a blankets or straw to keep them off cold hard surfaces.  Be sure to check blankets for dampness as dogs tend to not dry off before getting in bed.  Don’t depend on a light bulb or any kind of space heaters because they are a huge fire hazard.  There are heated dog pads that work well and have been tested for safety.   Don’t leave your K-9 in the garage or car while you heat it up.  Carbon monoxide is a killer.

Keep A Check On Food And Water

Just because your dog loves licking at the snow don’t assume that he is getting enough water.  Dogs need to be well hydrated and bellies full when the weather is cold.  Be sure to check water bowls often from being frozen.  Many humans think of topping off their radiators with anti-freeze during these times and may spill or leave containers sitting around.  Anti-freeze is like sugar water to dogs and it only takes a couple of licks to make them very sick or die. Another helpful tip is to keep a gallon of fresh water in storage in case you have a power outage and they can’t get you back online right away.

Photo credit Shannon Pifko

Ice and Snow

It many be funny to see the puzzled look on the face of our unsuspecting K-9

as they slide across the ice on a ground that they have traveled many times before.   Be sure to think about how you would feel if you took that hard fall.  Dogs don’t understand what is going on and the dangers that can exist.  You wouldn’t let a child go barreling out the door so use the same caution with your pets.  Bad falls can cause injuries and the bad weather conditions may hinder you from getting your pet good medical attention.

Another concern is when your dog is having the time of his life playing in the snow.  You may not realize that snow balls are building up between their toes.  These can become painful and yes pets can get frost bite.  Beware of your dog stopping to bite at their feet.  This could be a sign that they are getting a build up of snow or ice balls.  If your dog is going to be playing in the snow you can apply a small amount of cooking oil or Pam on their paws and between their toes to protect them.  Make sure you use something that they can digest as you know they like to lick their paws.

Pet Outerwear

Older dogs, puppies and short haired dogs have a very hard time getting warm in the cold weather. If your dog is going to be spending an extended time out in the cold get them a sweater or dog coat. These should only be used under supervision because they could get the clothing caught on something causing them injury or death. There are many stores that carry great outerwear for pets.

If the forecasters are predicting the temperatures to drop below freezing be sure to think of your pets and protect them. It’s your job as a pet owner!

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