WHEN the thermometer dips don’t leave your dog outside unattended – most pet dogs spend a lot of time inside and aren’t used to the extreme cold so could develop hypothermia or frostbite.
Short-coated breeds, like Greyhounds, Dobermans and Chihuahuas really struggle to cope with the cold so make sure they’ve got a cosy doggy jumper or coat on when they go outside.
If your dog starts lifting up their paws, whining or stopping while out on walks it could well be because their feet are too cold, so it’s a good idea to invest in some boots for them to wear.
Trim the hair around your dog’s feet to help prevent ice-balls – these form between the pads and toes of the feet and are really painful.
If you walk on salted pavements wash your dog’s paws after a walk because salt and grit can really irritate their footpads.
Stay away from frozen ponds or lakes and keep your dog on a lead near frozen water. If they do run on to it, it’s tempting to go after them but it’s really important that you don’t. Most dogs are strong swimmers and are more likely to get themselves out of trouble than you are.
Don’t be a fair-weather friend – take your dog out in all weathers where possible but be careful in slippery conditions. If you’re elderly, don’t put yourself at risk, keep your dog at home and spend time playing games indoors to stop them from getting too bored or frustrated.
If your dog is less active during the winter months, don’t forget to cut back a bit on what you feed them.
When you’re out walking wear bright/reflective clothing so you can be seen by motorists during the dark evenings. You can also get some great reflective gear for dogs too.
It’s not just people who are tempted to overindulge over Christmas but eating human food can give your dog an upset tummy and turkey bones can choke them. Don’t forget to keep your choccies out of reach too because they’re toxic to dogs.