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  • Winterizing your dog

    Steve-King
    So whether you want to admit it or not, winter is here again!
    At this time of year, there is much talk of winterizing your cabin, your car, your sprinkler system. But what about your dog? Fluffy is more than aware that the temperature is plunging but, apart from growing a thicker coat, may not be able to cope too well with our cold, dry climate.
    Depending on the breed of dog you have, you may want to consider investing in a dog coat. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for so don’t grab the cheapest coat on the market. Look at the features the coat offers and how it can be worn by your dog: does the coat offer the insulation you’re looking for? What kind of straps does the coat have? Will the coat inhibit your dog’s movement? There are dogs of course that love the cold weather and relish the idea of being outside in minus 20C. Summer is a far bigger challenge for these guys than winter.
    As we venture out with our dogs on icy mornings, we have all experienced those neighbours who have conscientiously cleared their sidewalks by applying salt to melt the ice. This can be a welcome relief from skidding on the ice for us humans but can be very detrimental to our furry friends’ paws which can be burnt by regular salt. For years I have been advocating for people to use pet-friendly ice melting products but, for the vast majority of people, this seems unfortunately to have fallen on deaf ears. For those of you looking to help our canine friends here are a few suggestions for products available in Canada:
    • Acklands-Grainger “Eco Solutions Ice Melt Organic”
    • Uline Canada “Pet Safe Ice Melt”
    • Home Depot Canada “Snow Joe MELT”
    • Rona “Petz All Ice Melter”
    • Rona “Nuway Pet Lovers Ice Melter”
    • Canadian Tire Sifto Safe Step Sure Paws
    This is not an exhaustive list of pet friendly ice melting products.
    With a combination of salt and a dry climate, another product worth considering for your dog’s paws is some form of balm. All pet stores will sell balm suitable for dog paws so, next time you’re in your local pet store, check out what the store can offer or suggest. As with many other products, balm suitable for dogs can also be purchased online via, for example, Amazon.
    Another way to protect your dog’s paws from the cold and salt is to consider dog booties. Most dogs find wearing booties an unusual experience which may take some getting used to. It is most important to get booties that fit snugly but do not restrict the natural gait of your dog. Rather than having your dog experience wearing booties for the first time at the dog park, try them on at home so your dog can get used to the feeling. Don’t be surprised if your dog rejects the idea of wearing booties either initially or for good as this is an alien concept for them.
    As the children’s nursery rhyme says “The north wind will blow and we shall have snow but what will poor Robin do then poor thing”. Let’s all work to make sure man’s best friend is suitably looked after in the cold months ahead.

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