Harsh winter weather
brings a wide variety of concerns to responsible dog owners. Bitter cold,
numbing wetness, biting winds and salt can cause much grief for that special
dog in your life. To assure your canine companion stays healthy and safe
through the long, winter months, follow these guidelines.
• Wind chill causes
colder conditions than what is read on a thermometer. Dogs shouldn’t be left
outside for long periods of time. Even a half hour in frigid temperatures can
cause problems. Be sure to keep a sharp eye on your dog’s body temperature and
never leave him in the yard for more than 10 minutes when temperatures dip
• Always be sure your
dog has adequate shelter where it will be warm and dry. Be sure that he isn’t
lying in a drafty area. Place his bed, blanket or pillow on tile and wood
floors to give him a warm place to sleep.
• Groom your canine
companion on a regular basis. A coat that is well maintained is well insulated.
Shorthaired dogs and those with coarse coats get cold easily. Consider
purchasing a blanket, coat or sweater to keep your dog warm.
• If you own a working
dog, or if your canine companion spends hours outdoors, feed it extra calories.
In winter, dogs need extra energy to regulate body temperature. Extra food
provides necessary nutrients to see your dog through the most frigid days.
• Use caution if you and
your dog are walking, playing or working around frozen creeks, rivers, lakes or
streams. If your dog jumps or slips into frigid water, his body temperature
will drop quickly. Dogs can die from hypothermia, just as humans can.
• Never leave your dog
alone in a vehicle. If the engine is off, he can die from hypothermia. If the
engine is left running, he can be overcome with carbon monoxide fumes.