CLEVELAND — Many dogs, like my pup Fergus, love the snow. But even winter dogs need to be protected when temperatures and wind chills dip low.
I know it’s been a mild winter and this is something we haven’t had to think about, but for your pet’s safety and to protect you from potential cruelty charges, take it seriously.
Every winter we report stories of animals being left out too long in the cold. There are city ordinances limiting the amount of time dogs can be outside in unsafe weather. These next few days fit the danger zone.
If your pet must stay outside, invest in a heated water bowl so their water can’t freeze. Make sure you protect their shelter, keeping it insulated and protected from wind. You can also buy heated pads for inside to keep them warm.
If you’re going to be walking your dog, road salt can literally burn their feet. Use pet safe salt around your home.
“The salt build up on sidewalks can be dangerous for the dogs paws and dogs who are outside can also get snow ball build up in between their paw pads and that can cause frostbite,” says Becca Riker, owner of Mutt Hutt.
So at the very least, wipe down their paws with a towel or wipes when you bring them in. Trim the fur between their pads to help prevent snowballs.
If your dog will let you, try paw protectors on their feet. There are several different types. Fergus will wear ones that are reusable and disposable. Use a balm on their pads to keep them from drying out and cracking.
And remember, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s too cold for your pet!