Keep your dog healthy and happy in the colder winter months

The colder temps of winter present unique concerns for pet owners, especially when their dog has to be outside. At Raleigh Pawz, we want your furry friends to be as comfortable and happy as possible this winter. This week, we’re presenting a few things to look for, and potential fixes to those issues.

Behaviors to Watch Out For

  1. Your dog stops walking and doesn’t want to go. This may be because they’re cold, it may also be because they have something uncomfortable on their paws. Take a look at their feet and try to remove any balls of ice or debris that might be on the pads of their feet.   
  2. Your dog shivers.  This one should be self-explanatory. When your dog shivers and tries to cuddle, that’s a sure sign that they’re cold. You may want to try to convince your pet to wear a sweater or a coat, or turn the heat up.
  3. Your dog acts anxious, whining and slowing down. These things, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, are signs that your pet could be developing hypothermia. It’s especially important to get them inside if they stop moving or start looking for a warm place to hide.   

Things to Keep in Mind:

  1. Being cold and wet is no fun and does pose health risks.
    Get your dog into a sweater if possible, but if not, be sure to dry them off after your walks. Also, bathe your pet less frequently during the cold weather months than you would in the spring an summer. It’s harder for them to dry naturally, and they won’t be happy.
  2. There may be things on the ground that could hurt your dog’s paws.
    The winter weather means that there might be chemicals, ice or salt on the ground. Wash and dry your dog’s feet after a walk. If you can convince your pet, one way to protect from this issue is to get them into booties before you go for that walk.
  3. Your pet burns calories more quickly during the winter as they naturally try to keep warm.
    To fix this, feed them a bit more food on the cold days and you may be able to stave off the potential of winter weight loss.
  4. Dogs need shelter if they spend any amount of time outside.
    This is very important- these animals need a space where they can be dry and have some protection from the wind and rain if they spend a significant amount of time outdoors.  
  5. Make sure antifreeze containers are out of the reach of your pets. Antifreeze can be deadly for curious dogs (and cats too). It’s very important to make sure that these items, which are popular this time of year, are put away so that dogs can’t get to them, and that they are closed tightly.

At Raleigh Pawz, our dog walkers are aware of the signs of cold-weather exposure, and pay close attention to your dog’s behavior. Whether it’s a mid-day walk, or we’re pet-sitting, our staff are committed to making sure your pet is healthy and happy while in our care. To schedule a dog walking appointment or pet sitting, visit our scheduling page.

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