Brrr! It's been freezing lately, even for us over in usually sunny California. In fact, we've been experiencing more rain than we have seen collectively in the last decade! With that said it got me thinking a lot about how to keep my two pups, Sherlock and Watson, warm and cozy.
Most people, especially those of us in temperate California, assume our dogs don't need anything extra in the wintertime, and that their fur and instincts will protect them from the biting cold, but that is often not the case.
It is important to consider your dog's size, fur thickness as well as breed mix when determining whether your dog needs a little something extra to keep warm. For instance, while a Husky or Husky mix might thrive and even enjoy the cold and snow, a small terrier/ chihuahua mix like my two 6 lb dogs absolutely shivers at the slightest breeze.
Over the years I've learned that if my little canine companions were going to join me on rainy day outings or even snowy adventures they'd need some protection from the cold, so now in the winter you'll often see both Sherlock and Watson sporting a sweater, scarf, snood, raincoat, and even PJs.
Live where it snows or like taking winter trips to the snow with your pup? Make sure to check your dog's paws frequently for signs of cold-weather damage like cracked paws or bleeding. Keep an eye on your dogs gait while walking in super cold and/ or snowy weather because per the American Veterinary Medical Association "sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between its toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of icefall accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog's toes."
Just as human skin gets dry and itchy during cold weather, a dog's skin and paws can also become dry, itchy, and/ or cracked. Try to keep winter baths to a minimum and consider adding a little olive oil or coconut oil to your dog's food. This may help moisturize their skin from the inside out. For dry paws try a paw balm to help condition and moisturize them. My dogs personally love their "pawdicures."
And lastly, while it is technically legal to leave dogs outside as long as they have some coverage from the elements in most US states, it is best to keep your dog indoors to ensure their safety. A good basic rule of thumb is that if it's too cold for you, it's too cold for them.
Have some other good cold weather safety tips? Let us know in the comments!