A common misconception among dog owners is that just because their dogs have a coat of fur; it's ok to let them spend the winter outside. While it is OK to let your dogs out in the winter, there are important precautions to take. Be aware of exactly how cold it is, including the wind chill factor. A dog house is good to have but may not protect them from frostbite on their extremities.
Be sure to bring your pet in out of the cold. Put down a warm blanket for them to sleep on, since tiles can be cold. You can also purchase beds made for dogs at your local pet store Another misconception is that snow is a substitute for fresh water. Make sure that your pet always has fresh water available to drink, regardless of the weather conditions.
Fur can provide a measure of warmth for your pet, but fur that is long can also pick up clumps of snow and ice, making it uncomfortable for them. Trim the areas around the paws to keep this from happening. Dogs with short hair don't get the same level of warmth as dogs with long hair. Buy them doggie sweaters or knit one yourself. They will keep your dog warm and make them look even more adorable. Many areas salt icy streets to provide traction.
This salt or deicer can be painful to dogs, if they get into cracks in their paws. By rubbing a thin film of petroleum jelly on the bottom of their paws, it will lessen the amount of salt that sticks to them. When you get back home, be sure to clean their feet so that they will always be able to walk comfortably. Damp fur can be uncomfortable for your pet.
When coming back from a walk in rainy or snowy conditions, be sure to dry them off, preferably with a blow dryer. There are other winter hazards for your pet that you should take care to avoid. When adding antifreeze to your car, be sure that there is no spillage that can be lapped up by your pet. It is poisonous to them and could cost them their lives. It is especially dangerous because they enjoy the taste, so make sure that you keep the bottles where they can't get to them.
The winter holidays also can pose dangers for your pets. Chocolate is bad for your dog, so keep the Halloween candy where they can't reach it. Be sure to put the poinsettia up on a table or a shelf, since they are poisonous to a dog and be careful of the tinsel that you use to decorate your Christmas tree.
This can also be harmful, so opt for bright ornaments instead of tinsel. Your tree will still be bright and attractive and your dog will be safe.
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as Dog Houses at http://www.dog-houses-online.com