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6 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe and Warm This Winter

Dec 12, 2007
Do you live in an area of the country that is subject to heavy snowfalls or very cold temperatures? This would be areas like Wisconsin, Minnesota, upstate New York, North Dakota and Montana - to name a few.

If this is the case and your dog spends a lot of time out of doors, you need to think about the steps you can take to protect him or her from winter's cold blasts

You need to be especially careful if your dog has a very short coat or no undercoat. For example, our Cairn Terrier has no undercoat and is, therefore, much more susceptible to cold weather than out Wheaton Terrier.

Tip #1. If your dog does spend a great amount of time outdoors, make sure that you have a very warm and sturdy doghouse. In fact, if you live in the far north or northeast, you should probably insulate that dog house. If you do not currently have a dog house, there are many plans available - some of which are even free - that can help you put one together quickly. For that matter, you can buy a dog house kit and simplify the task of building that dog house even further.

Tip #2. Again, if you live in a very cold part of the country, you might consider buying your dog a warming mat or a doghouse heater for Christmas. There are doghouse heaters available for less than $60 and heated mats that can be purchased for about $75 for a large dog, scaling down to around $44 for a small dog. There are also warming throws available for around $75, again for a large dog.

Tip #3. You also need to consider the weather and your dog's paws. Hard frozen ground, as well as snow and ice, can cause your dog's paws to become sore and cracked. While it may sound funny, your best bet for protecting those paws might be doggy boots. These boots are generally made of water-resistant fabric on the outside, with a warm fleece or flannel lining. Most have elastic cuffs around the top and Velcro fasteners to help keep them in place.

Tip #4. If your dog refuses to wear doggy boots or if doggy boots are just not practical for some reason, make sure you keep the hair around its paws and "ankles" cut short and its nails trimmed. This will help keep snow and ice from clinging to its paw pads. You might also gently rub petroleum jelly on your dog's paw pads before he or she goes outside. This provides a protective gel over the paws which will help keep them from cracking and bleeding.

Tip #5. This one may sound silly but more and more pet owners are purchasing doggy pajamas. These can help keep the dog insulated and warm. You might also consider investing in a dog coat or jacket.

Tip #6. Keep your dog indoors as much as possible. This is the best and most common way to keep a dog warm during the winter. If your dog prefers the outdoors or there is some reason why you cannot keep him or her indoors during really bad weather, then making sure you have a sturdy and insulated dog house is absolutely critical.

Winter can create problems for even the hardiest of dogs. But if you use common sense and follow these tips, you can keep him or her safe and warm during even the worst of weather.
About the Author
Douglas Hanna is a long time dog owner and publisher of a web site that focuses on dog house plans and tips for building a dog house. It can be found at http://www.doghouseplans360.com.
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