Winterize Your Dog
Here in Maine we’ve had a very mild late fall, but we all know what’s coming. It seems over the past few years the winter season has surprised some of our Southern friends with very cold, snowy weather, as well. So let’s all be responsible pet owners and be prepared so our dogs do not suffer.
Any dog with a short, thin coat of fur needs a sweater or jacket if they are outside for an extended amount of time (let’s say 20 minutes). Winter dog gear is not just reserved for Chihuahuas and Yorkies, it comes in all sizes. Whether you have a Great Dane, a Staffordshire Terrier, or a Dachshund, they all need jackets for protection in cold weather.
You can find many styles and colors to suit your fancy. I personally go for the easy to put on jackets with Velcro straps which attach under the belly and chest. If your dog isn’t too wiggly and doesn’t mind their legs being slightly manipulated, you can choose from a large selection of beautiful, warm sweaters which slide over the dog’s head.
Responsible pet owners know to keep their dogs inside during the harsh winter months. There are some northern breeds that obviously can handle the cold better than others, such as the Siberian husky. If your husky is a pet and not a “sled dog,” he too should be spending nights in the home with the family. If huskies and other breeds are kept outside during the daylight hours, they should have adequate shelter. Adequate shelter consists of a covering of some kind, such as an extended overhang from a garage with at least three sides to help block wind and precipitation. Inside the shelter there should be a thick layer of straw for insulation and comfort. The straw should be changed often to help keep your dog clean and warm. The water bowl should be checked several times a day to ensure it is not frozen.
If you’re a really outdoorsy family and like taking your dog along on all your outdoor adventures, you may want to check into a paw protection product such as Mushers Secret. Mushers Secret is a type of wax that protects your dog’s paws from harmful cold. There are other items similar, but I have had good luck using this item on many of the shelter dogs I work with. Some people choose to put footies/shoes on their dogs, but those can be uncomfortable and usually fall off.
So be prepared and let’s all enjoy the winter season; or at least deal with it until spring arrives.