As Thanksgiving approaches and the winter holidays follow, be sure your best friend stays healthy, happy, and safe this year! From holiday handouts to handling the chilly weather, here are our top tips for holiday safety:
1. Don’t Let Your Dog Slip into a Depression
As the days shrink, it can become more difficult to walk your dog after work. But you should not skip those evening walks. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy.
Maintain your walking routine and suit up for visibility with a reflective vest for your dog. You can also consider a dog sweater under your pup’s reflective vest to help keep her warm. As dogs get older, they struggle a bit more with the cold: this includes joint aches and retaining heat.
Increase mental stimulation with a snuffle mat. If your dog loves dog puzzles, she’ll love the fun of using her natural instincts each night to hunt for her food. This also slows down her eating in a safe way to support a healthy digestive system.
2. Let Your Dog Play While the Sun is Shining
Dogs need exercise to support their heart health. This means running, tugging, jumping, and playing. Try to give your dog at least 30 minutes of playtime with an elevated heart rate to keep her healthy through the winter.
Running also helps keep your dog’s joints lubricated and muscles strong.
Rope toys are a great way to increase your dog’s interest in play while challenging your beloved dog. They can encourage tug between dogs or give you the opportunity to engage your dog in a great game of fetch.
For smaller dogs, try plush toys that your pup can leap after, chew on, and safely toss and tug.
3. Your Dog’s Paws Need Protection
Never let your dog walk on deicers or road salts. These can burn her paws and create cuts and bruises that may develop into worse injuries.
Your dog also relies on her paws to play, walk, and get exercise every day.
Clip that fuzz between your dog’s toes. If your dog walks in snow and ice, this can reduce those ice balls that form between her pads causing discomfort, uneven gait, and grooming road salt from her feet.
Try using a paw protecting cream or conditioner to help her paws adjust to the cold temperatures and avoid cracking. If your dog is patient, you can even purchase her a pair of snow boots or paw protectors that slip over her feet.
Rinse your pup’s paws after walks as well.
4. Beware of Hypothermia
Just because our dogs wear winter coats, doesn’t mean they can’t suffer from hypothermia. To avoid the risk of hypothermia, dry your dog as dry as possible while you romp in the snow. And watch for signs that her temperature’s dropping dangerously low.
Signs of hypothermia include:
- Stiff muscles
- Withdrawn behavior
- Slowness of breath
- Slowing heart rate
If you suspect your dog may be experiencing hypothermia, wrap her in a blanket and bring her to the vet.
5. Run the Humidifier and Keep Your Pup Hydrated
As the temperatures drop, moisture gets pulled from the air. Prevent a crusty, cracked nose and paws by running a humidifier. This will also prevent your dog from developing itchy, flaky skin.
Always keep your dog’s water bowl full. Hydration is vital for your dog’s health. Bring along a collapsible bowl on walks to ensure your dog drinks enough. Remember, just because we’re not hot doesn’t mean we should skimp on hydration.
We wish you a wonderful winter full of joy and wonderful memories! Keep your pups playing and happy all year long.