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Pets and Beyond

Keep Your Dog Safe in Cold Weather

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Many people think of keeping dogs safe in hot summer months. With cold weather quickly approaching it is important to consider safety when temperatures drop. Do not mistake your dog’s long hair, size or fluffy coat for adequate protection from the harsh cold.

Here are a few simple tips to help protect your dog when the mercury dips.

Proper Hydration-Making sure your dog gets enough water is a year round health concern. Cold temperatures can cause dogs to become dehydrated quickly. This hinders their ability to regulate body temperature. If your dog's water bowl is outside check it frequently to make sure the water isn’t frozen. A heated pet bowl can keep the water from freezing. Indoor dogs need fresh clean water year round too. Consider using a pet fountain that will filter the water removing impurities, dirt and odor.

Store the Anti-Freeze & Windshield De-Icer-Even small doses of anti-freeze can be lethal to your dog. That’s because it has ethylene glycol (EG). It is sweet smelling and highly toxic. Just a few tablespoons can be deadly for dogs. EG can be found in windshield de-icer fluid too. Keep these dangerous chemicals locked and out of your dog's reach. If you think your dog has ingested anti-freeze get treatment immediately. Do not delay or wait it out.

Avoid Road Chemicals-Chemicals used to keep the roads safe are also harmful to dogs. Try to avoid areas that have been chemically treated. Wash and dry paws/pads that come in contact with road salt in warm (not hot) water. This will help keep the pads from getting burned, cracked and dried out. It also keeps your pet from ingesting the salt if he licks his paws. Dog boots can keep the pads protected too. Be sure to remove and rinse wet boots from your dog when you come inside.

Keep Them Warm and Dry-dog house heater mounted inside a wind-proof, water-proof outdoor dog shelter can keep the temperature inside the shelter safe for your dog. The heaters install easily and are energy efficient. Dog house size, insulation level and door flap closure can all effect the results of any dog house heater so keep an eye on the inside temperature. Heated dog beds are also a good option. The heated beds are designed to warm to your dog's normal body temperature of 102°F when they lie on it. When your dog is not on the bed, the heat dissipates into the air and the surface temperature of the bed will vary based on air temperature. Heated beds are great for doghouses/kennels, basements, garages, barns, porches, and other outdoor areas. Finally, consider adding layer of protection with outerwear designed for dogs. Sweaters, boots and thermal vests can all help keep your dog warm.

In cases of extreme cold weather if you wouldn’t stay outside your pet should not stay outside. Pay attention and keep an eye on your dog when he is outside-even if it is just for a few minutes.