How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Exercised in the Winter
Brrrr! Winter is finally here for most of the U.S., and as dog owners, it’s time to make some preparations. Although Fido has a furry coat, he’s still prone to cold temperatures. If it gets below freezing, your dog could develop hypothermia, which is potentially fatal, or it could get frostbite.
Of course, every dog needs exercise and a little time outside! Here’s how to keep your dog safe and exercised in chilly temperatures.
Know your breed.
Different breeds of dogs tolerate cold temperatures better than others. One classic cold-loving breed is the Siberian husky, a fluffy dog that originated in extremely cold Siberia.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Chihuahua, a short-coated breed that originated in the Mexican heat. If you have a Chihuahua, it likely hates the cold!
Both Siberian huskies and Chihuahuas are dogs, and both make awesome pets, but both have extremely different relationships with cold weather. This shows that it’s important to do research about your dog before setting out on a chilly jaunt.
How should you walk your pup in the winter?
All year long, you should strive to keep your dog fit, as well as yourself. However, it’s a little more difficult during the winter. After all, you can’t take your pup to the gym! Still, you can walk your dog daily, even if it’s cold outside. In fact, many dogs love the snow! You just need to make a few preparations before you head out.
Use doggie clothing.
Just as you would put on a coat or mittens before you go outside, you should outfit your pup as well. There are plenty of coats to keep your dog warm and mittens/boots to keep its paws snug. Be sure to put these on your dog before you go outside into the cold. Boots also make great protection against the salt that’s used to melt ice on wintery sidewalks.
Watch out for ice!
It’s just as dangerous for your dog to slip on ice as it is for you. Avoid walking your pooch in places with ice, especially if your dog will be going outside without a leash.
Take it indoors.
If it’s below 0 degrees F and icy, consider keeping your pup indoors when it’s not time for a bathroom break. There are great ways to exercise your dog inside. Here are a few ideas!
- Hide some treats for your pup to find — It’ll expend all its energy looking for that yummy snack!
- If you have the budget, consider a dog treadmill — If you have a normal treadmill, you can use that as well, but supervise your dog to prevent injury.
- Take your dog to a fitness center — There are some for pets! Alternatively, a few indoor pools allow pets, and swimming is great exercise for Fido!
The cold and sometimes wintery weather doesn’t mean your pup should stay inside all the time, but it does mean you need to be aware of how to keep it safe. Take precautions when walking your dog, and provide some indoor entertainment, and winter will be just as much fun as spring and summer
The Team @ Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital
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