Dear Porky and Buddy,
I have two dogs. One of them, Amanda, loves to go out in the winter, no matter how cold and she runs around happily in the snow until I call her in. She is a mutt of some sort with short hair, so it’s not like she’s a natural winter dog. The other one, Gertie, is a little poodle mix and she acts like snow feels like hot burning coals. I can hardly get her to go out to do her business and then she zips right back to the house.
What makes them so different and is there anything I can maybe do with Gertie to make it easier for her? She loves going out in warmer weather so I feel sort of bad that she is stuck in the house most of the time.
Surely you don’t think that all people like or hate winter weather equally! Why should dogs?
And what’s wrong with staying in a nice warm house? Preferably on the couch.
But we digress.
Actually, for any dog out in severe cold there are precautions that you should take even if they seem to like it.
The dry, cold air, sleet and snow of winter is not only generally uncomfortable, it can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, and ice melting chemicals on sidewalks and streets can compound the problem.
Here is some general advice we got from our friends, the experts at the ASPCA:
Dressing Gertie in a sweater or coat will help her retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry.
Our guess is that since she’s a poodle she will be delighted to put on and show off her new attire.
Booties can help Gertie minimize contact with the cold of the snow and ice and also painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents.
In our humble opinion they look ridiculous, but once again, she’s a poodle.
Bring a towel along with you on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws during the walk if either dog seems to be bothered. Again, after each walk, wash and dry both Amanda’s and Gertie’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible. They are better for the environment anyway.
Massaging petroleum jelly into the paw pads of both of your girls before going outside also helps to protect them from salt and chemical agents.
And moisturizing after a good toweling off helps to heal chapped paws.
After all your precautions, if you notice that their pads are very irritated and not healing, you should call your vet.
The most important advice?
If the weather’s too cold for you, it’s definitely too cold for Gertie and probably even Amanda.
All animal companions, like all sensible humans, should remain indoors as much as possible during the winter months.
Spring is coming.
Speaking of coping with horrible weather, join us at the Faux Fur Ball on January 31 at the American Foundry.
Great food, music by the Billionaires, dancing, raffles, a silent auction, all for the real fur balls of the Humane Society.
If you have not received an invitation yet you can buy tickets online at www.oswegohumane.org
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office has relocated to 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!