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Winter paw-sibilities: A guide to protecting your dog in Milwaukee

little girl and her dog looking out the window.

As winter blankets Milwaukee in a layer of snow and frost, our canine companions eagerly anticipate outdoor adventures. However, the chilly season brings unique challenges for our furry friends, from icy sidewalks to freezing temperatures. To ensure your dog stays safe, healthy, and happy during the winter months, follow this comprehensive guide on protecting their paws, fur, and overall well-being.

1. Paw protection: The first line of defense

During winter walks, your dog's paws are exposed to cold surfaces, ice-melting chemicals, and potentially sharp objects hidden beneath the snow. Invest in protective gear like dog boots to shield their sensitive paw pads from the elements. Ensure a proper fit and gradually introduce your dog to wearing them indoors before heading out into the winter wonderland. Your dog might not like them at first, but gradually wearing them in slow increments around the house will help get them used to the booties. Their paws will thank you later!

2. Snow removal safety: Paws vs. salt

While de-icing salts help manage winter sidewalks, they can be harsh on your dog's paws. After outdoor excursions, wipe your dog's feet with a damp cloth to remove salt and chemicals. Consider using pet-safe ice melt products in your own outdoor spaces to minimize any exposure to harmful substances.

3. Outdoor shelter: A cozy retreat

Create a warm and sheltered outdoor space for your dog if they spend extended periods in the yard. Some breeds prefer winter weather but it does not mean they should not have access to a sheltered outdoor space. Provide a well-insulated doghouse with dry bedding to protect them from the cold. Ensure access to fresh water, as staying hydrated is crucial even in chilly temperatures.

4. Grooming guidance: Coat care in the cold

Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to the cold due to their coat type. Long-haired breeds may benefit from a trim to prevent ice and snow buildup, while short-haired breeds might appreciate a cozy dog sweater during walks. Regular brushing helps remove loose fur and promotes a healthy coat, providing natural insulation.

5. Frostbite vigilance: Know the signs

Frostbite can affect a dog's ears, paws, and tail, leading to tissue damage. Be vigilant for signs such as pale or gray skin, coldness to the touch, or pain and swelling. If you suspect frostbite, seek veterinary attention promptly. Limit outdoor time during extreme cold weather, especially for breeds sensitive to low temperatures.

6. Hydration matters: Combat winter dryness

Cold air can be dehydrating, affecting your dog's skin and coat. Ensure they have access to clean, fresh water indoors. Consider adding a humidifier to combat dry indoor air, providing relief for your pup's skin and respiratory health.

7. Snowy playtime: Safe and joyful activities

Embrace the winter wonderland with safe and enjoyable outdoor activities. Engage in games like snowball fetching or create a dog-friendly obstacle course. Keep playtime moderate, as exertion in cold weather can lead to exhaustion and potential health risks.

8. Indoor enrichment: Beat the winter blues

Balance outdoor adventures with indoor enrichment activities. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing games, and interactive playtime provide mental stimulation, keeping your dog engaged and content, even when the weather keeps you indoors.

9. Vet visit: Winter wellness check

Schedule a winter wellness check with your veterinarian. Discuss any concerns related to winter-specific health risks, update vaccinations if necessary, and address any changes in diet or exercise routine suitable for the season.

DoodyCalls of Cedarburg

To ensure a clean and safe outdoor space for your dog during winter, trust DoodyCalls of Cedarburg for reliable pet waste removal services. Our dedicated team ensures that your yard remains free of pet waste, providing a pristine environment for your pup to enjoy. Visit DoodyCalls of Cedarburg to schedule your service and create a winter haven for your furry friend. Enjoy the season's magic while safeguarding your dog's well-being in Milwaukee's snowy embrace.