Updated: Feb 5, 2018
Towel dry your pet(s) when coming in from the outside. Check feet, especially in-between digits and remove any snowballs between foot pads. If your breed has long hair around its paws, consider trimming.
Be careful about shaving a dog down to the skin in winter. A longer coat will provide warmth. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him/her a coat or sweater with coverage from the base of the tail and over the abdomen.
Coats or sweaters will keep your pet warm but do not protect the ears and tail. Watch for ice crystals on the body parts and gently towel them off. Signs of frostbite are pale or gray skin. The skin could also turn hard and feel cold.
Consider bringing a
towel on long walks to clean off stinging or irritated paws. After any walk, wash and dry pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice and chemicals from the road. Check for cracks in-between digits.
Bathe your pet as little as possible in the winter months. Washing can remove essential oils and increase the chanc
e of developing dry, flaky skin. If the pet must be bathed, use a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse. Brush the coat often as a well-groomed coat will aid in keeping your pet warm.
Massage petroleum jelly-based products, Musher’s secret, or some other kind of protectant into your dog’s paws. If paws are severely chapped, massage the protectant and then boot the dog. Overnight booting can provide 8 hours of moisturizing to the pads. Petroleum jelly also works well on cracked noses.
Keep pets away from chemicals, especially antifreeze.
Pets need more food and water in the winter
months as they burn extra energy. If your pet is rather sedentary or not very active outside, it will not need extra food but will need lots of water.
Keep pets inside in a cozy, warm place. Be mindful that your pet does not get too close to heating stoves or fireplaces. If your dog is an outside dog, such as a sled dog or large herding dog, be sure it has additional straw or other bedding to keep the cold out of its shelter.
It’s fun to take our dogs riding with us. Remember, however, that a vehicle can become a refrigerator in frigid weather. It’s best to leave the dogs at home.