Now that autumn is in full swing, winter weather is waiting in the wings -- and this could mean that your furry friend will need specialized care designed to help it stay comfortable and healthy throughout the cold season. This is particularly true if your canine companion tends to spend most of its time outdoors. Following are three considerations that should be on your winter-preparedness checklist to help ensure the optimal well-being of your furry friend:
Thoroughly Inspect Your Fencing for Holes or Other Potential Exit Points
Naturally, your dog loves you and your family and has no desire to leave home for good, but few canines worth their salt can resist the promise of a carefree romp offered by an enticing hole in the fence. If you make a common practice of leaving your dog in the backyard, double check before the cold weather hits to make sure it can't get loose. Although this is important all year round, dogs tend to lose their sense of smell in cold, dry weather, and rain can wash away scents, making it more difficult for your dog to find its way home after its had its fun.
Keeping the Feet Healthy
If snow and ice is a part of the picture in your outdoor living area, consider getting your dog a couple of good pairs of booties to prevent damage from ice shards and to guard against frostbite. Also, use a good pad cream on a regular basis to minimize chances of your dog experiencing painful cracks in the bottom of its feet due to dry, cold conditions.
Re-evaluate Having Your Dog Sleep Outdoors
If your dog has traditionally slept outdoors for a number of years, it may be time to re-evaluate that practice, particularly if you live in an area where routine temperatures routinely drop below freezing. As dogs age, their ability to withstand temperature extremes diminishes significantly. If your dog is a new member of your family that has never spent a winter with you before, consider making it a bed in a heated garage or bringing it indoors on winter evenings even if it's going to be primarily an outside dog -- especially if it's a shorthaired breed that is low in body fat, such as Chihuahuas, Beagles, and Dobermans. Toy breeds should never be left out in the cold because they don't have enough body mass to keep them warm when chill winds blow.
Contact a vet office like Spring Hill Veterinary Clinic for more information and assistance.