A Dog’s Winter Struggles

Hello again, readers! The snow has been here on and off, and winter is coming. So, this week I want to talk to you about how to keep your dog happy and healthy during the winter months.

The Dog’s Winter Coat

Your dog is covered in fur, so he does have some protection against the cold. But, keep in mind, if you’re cold there’s a good chance he’s cold.

As soon as you approach the door, your dog might become overwhelmingly excited, and ready to jump around in the fluffy snow. Don’t keep him out there too long, though.

Once the snow starts to melt on your dog’s fur, his fur will start to lose its ability to keep your dog warm. Your dog’s toes, nose, and ears are especially susceptible to the cold.

Think about us wearing a coat. We’re warm, but only for a short amount of time.

Dog Booties for


The pads of their feet are also at risk during the winter.

If your dog will accept ‘dog booties’ on her feet, these are actually a great idea. So many people think they’re silly (and I did once too before I knew all of this years ago), but they’re really helpful especially if you live in the city where there’s a lot of salt around.

The booties protect your dog’s feet from the salt and prevent your dog’s paw pads from freezing. The salt burns the pads on your dog’s paws, and you might notice the pads becoming cracked and dry, and maybe even raw from the salt outside.

If you want your dog to wear dog booties, but he’s not accepting them, you can try to put baby socks on him first. This isn’t natural for him, so be patient. Becoming accustomed to the socks might take some time (every dog is unique, so some may take more time than others). Once he’s okay with wearing the socks, you can give the booties a try.

Beware of Antifreeze

In addition to the cold being dangerous to your dog, antifreeze poisoning is also more common during the winter months.

I write about antifreeze every year about this time. There are so many dogs who get ahold of it in some way or another.

It doesn’t take much antifreeze for your dog to be poisoned. There’s a chemical in antifreeze called ethylene glycol that makes antifreeze lethal. Dogs will drink as much as they can before they realize the horrible aftertaste. Less than 3 ounces of antifreeze is enough to poison a medium-sized dog.

It’s important to note here that ethylene glycol is also found in engine coolant and hydraulic brake fluid.

Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include delirium, euphoria, drunken-type behavior, depression, weakness, seizures, lethargy, fainting and/or weakness.

If your dog does happen to consume antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the Pet Poison Hotline if your dog has come into contact with antifreeze, or anything else you believe may be toxic, 24-hours per day, 7 days a week at 855-764-7661.

Winter Activities

Your dog still needs exercise during the winter. Without exercise, you might notice behavioral issues, especially if your dog is the type that needs to be doing something all the time.

During the winter, you might want to consider a dog puzzle to keep his mind busy. The mind puzzles encourage brain stimulation to receive a treat.

To keep your dog physically active (and you too), you can climb the stairs a few extra times each day. Or, you can throw a treat up the stairs, or a ball and let your dog go fetch it. Making an indoor agility course is another great idea to get your dog’s blood pumping in the winter months. You can use chairs, blankets and hula hoops to make an excellent indoor agility course free and fast.

Outdoor time is still important to keep your dog happy and healthy. You can let him out for short periods of time for a walk or a run. You might not be able to stay out as long as you and your dog would like to, but walking every day is still important.

You can also try to take new routes, to keep your short walks interesting.

For more articles follow me on my professional Facebook page: www.facebook.com/specialistamberdrake. Thanks, everyone! Talk to you again soon.