Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The American kennel Club Offers Tips to Help “Winterize” Your Dog

Cold weather brings its own safety and health concerns for both people and dogs. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to pay attention to your dog’s well-being during the winter. The American Kennel Club® offers the following advice to help prepare your pet for the long, cold winter.

* Provide Plenty of Fresh Water - Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, and snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.

* Provide Plenty of Food - Feed your dog additional calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so additional calories are necessary. Dogs that are kept indoors with the family and get less exercise during winter months may actually gain weight so keep an eye on his diet.

* Keep Your Dog’s Paws Dry - Rinse your dog’s feet and dry them completely after a walk. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking.

* Groom Your Dog Regularly - Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Towel or blow-dry your dog if he gets wet from rain or snow.

* Keep Your Dog Warm, Dry, and Away From Drafts - Adequate shelter is a necessity. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold. Place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.

Watch Out for the following winter hazards:

* Cold - Don’t leave your dog outside for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings, and dogs are susceptible to frostbite on their ears, tails, and feet.

* Ice and Snow - Be extra careful when walking or playing with your dog outside. Your pup could slip or jump in a frozen lake, river, or pond and get seriously injured. Snow can muffle scents, and your dog can easily get lost.

* Carbon Monoxide - Don’t leave your dog alone in a car. It gets too cold, and carbon monoxide from an engine left running is dangerous.

* Antifreeze - Although it smells and tastes good to your dog, antifreeze is highly poisonous and can be lethal.

Additional tips on how to keep your dog safe this winter can be found on the AKC Website at www.akc.org. © The American Kennel Club, Inc.

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