Winter in Michigan is a season of bitter cold and blustery harsh conditions that don’t only affect us humans. Your four-legged friends also need to some extra protection during the frosty months ahead. Just follow these simple guidelines and your dog will stay safe and warm from their nose to the tip of their tail.
Keep them dry. Dogs need to go outside (obviously), so be sure to dry their fur off if they get wet from the rain, snow or slush. This helps them avoid catching any cold-temperature based ailments, like hypothermia. And don’t forget the paws! Toweling them off immediately helps keep the pads from drying out, which can result in tiny cuts and cracks.
Protect paws from salt. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can bother the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel (this also stops them from licking the salt off their feet, which can irritate their mouth). If their paws are already cracked, try a smear of petroleum jelly to help soften pads and prevent it from worsening.
Give your pets plenty of food and water. Keeping warm requires a lot of energy, which is why pets that spend a lot of time outdoors need more food and water in the winter. If you keep the bowl outside, use plastic ones; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
Avoid antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze smells great to your dog (weird, but true!), but it’s a deadly poison. Even as little as 1 to 2 teaspoons can be lethal to a small animal. To keep your pet safe, wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach. You might also consider switching to a Propylene Glycol product that is safer if accidentally swallowed.
Watch out for plant dangers. They look festive, but holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are all poisonous to pets. If you’re decorating your home with one of these beautiful plants, make sure they are kept where your dog can’t reach them.
Photo credit: Marco Bellucci