When winter rears its head it's time for concerned pet owners to take precautions that will ensure their furry friend is safe. While some dog breeds are made for the cold and snow, like St. Bernard's and Siberian Huskies, others are not quite cut out for the chilly temperatures. If you own an older dog or a breed that has short hair and a thin body type you need to take the right measures so your pup is well protected.
The first thing you should do when winter is nearing is schedule a visit to your veterinarian. Even though you know your dog well there are certain conditions that you may not be aware of that a vet can detect and help remedy. This is especially necessary if you own an older dog and one that is suffering from arthritis. The cold weather will bring great discomfort to the bones of an arthritic animal and when it's mid-January the temperature can make life miserable for your dog.
If your dog does have arthritis, be sure to stand behind him when he is climbing stairs, jumping on a couch or getting into the back seat of a car. The cold and pain in his bones can make movements difficult and it's good to be nearby to prevent a potentially harmful fall. You should also consider carrying a blanket around and wrapping his legs when he is resting. The cold will make arthritic bones even more painful and the more warmth you can provide the better.
If you live near a lake, river or pond know that ice may be thin. Some pet owners like to let their dog roam free outside but in the winter it is important to keep an eye out so your dog doesn't get into a dangerous situation. If a dog is left alone and falls through thin ice he can be at risk for hypothermia, frost bite and even drowning. Take the time to walk with your dog during winter to ensure he doesn't wander into a hazardous situation.
If you own a breed that is not naturally fit for the cold, such as a Greyhound or Chihuahua, now is the time to consider a dog sweater or coat. Even a quick walk outside in cold weather can make a dog very uncomfortable and if you live in the north then it is recommended you cover your dog's coat with a warm sweater.
Winter can be a lot of fun for a dog but only if you the owner take the right safety precautions. Your little buddy depends on you for guidance so offer it this winter and keep him happy and healthy.