Here are some tips on how to take care of your dog during the cold winter time:
1. When you take your dog out, always make sure that he is on a leash and his ID tag is current. A lot of dogs go missing in the winter compared to any other time of the year. Losing their own scent easily happens to pups when snow or ice is on the ground, especially when there is a snowstorm. They can easily get lost when this happens.
2. Snow accumulation can make it difficult for your dog to find out if he's in the front of your yard or he's out standing in the streets. Light-colored dogs can also be hard to spot when they have snow on their fur as they can quickly blend in the background.
3. Don't shave or trim your dog's coat too short during the winter months. A longer coat will keep your dog warmer during this time of the year. A doggy sweater might also be needed especially if your dog belongs to a small breed, a senior dog, a dog that has arthritis or other joint problems, or if your dog is prone to shivering.
4. If you and your dog do a lot of outdoor winter activities, then make sure that your dog is getting the right amount of calories and protein that he needs to meet his energy requirement. This may also mean that you need to increase his meal portions during winter months.
5. On the other hand, if your dog tends to hibernate more during winter time, then it is important that you don't let him lose his physical and muscle tone conditioning. There are a lot of reported case wherein a dog suffer from knee, cervical and neck injuries during spring time.
6. This case often occurs on dogs that are out-of-shape that go from zero to 60 on the first warm day of late winter or early spring. Make sure that you keep your dog active during the winter time.
7. Don't leave your dog inside your vehicle. Just as how your vehicle can turn into a furnace during summertime, it can also become a freezer during winter time. A dog left inside a car during a very cold day has the possibility to be frozen to death if left unattended.
8. If your dog has just come home from being out in the snowy and icy condition, make sure that you have thoroughly wiped off his feet, legs, and underside. Your dog has the possibility to have picked up salt crystals, antifreeze, or other toxic chemical on his paws, which he could later ingest if he licks those areas.
9. Don't leave any traces of antifreeze especially on areas where your dog can access them. Antifreeze is very poisonous to dogs. Also, check your dog's paw for any signs of injury or bleeding from walking on the icy cold, frozen surfaces.
10. Make sure that your dog has a warm and cozy sleeping area. If your dog has his own "bed", then make sure that it is something that will keep him warm. You could provide extra bedding and blanket if needed.
11. You could try paper training you little pup during cold days. Some puppies can't handle the cold weather outside. You can always take him back outside to poop when the weather gets warm.
12. Provide your senior dogs some extra TLC. Cold winter temperatures can be really hard on them especially if they're suffering from a joint disease such as arthritis. Talk to your vet about how to improve his comfort and mobility during this time of the year.