Is your Dog Ready for Winter?
Winter is upon us once again and, if you haven’t already prepared your dog for winter by buying him or her a winter coat, you should start thinking about it now to protect your pet from winter’s extreme conditions.
There are several different styles of winter coats available for your furry friend and the ones that are the easiest to put on and take off are the ones with Velcro fasteners around the neck and belly. Sweaters are somewhat more difficult to manage since they usually have to be placed over the dog’s head before inserting the dog’s legs through the leg openings. Coats can be made from many different fabrics such as nylon, polyester and acrylic with or without hoods. It’s also a good idea to buy a coat that is water resistant to keep your dog warm and dry and a fabric that is washable is easier for you to care for.
Another winter item you should consider is boots. Most styles of boots easily slip over your dog’s paws and fasten with a Velcro strip around the ankle. They can also be fleece lined with rubber soles and some have a reflective strip. If your dog doesn’t want to wear boots, you can try a pad protector that comes in wax form and protects your dog even in extreme conditions.
If your dog hasn’t worn a jacket or boots before you may want to get him used to his new winter wear slowly. If he ‘freezes’ and won’t move when you put on his coat, try leaving it around the house for him to investigate on his own. You can also use small treats to reward him when he shows interest in his new attire. Then, as he gets accustomed to it, try putting the coat on him for short periods of time and build up to his wearing the coat for longer periods. The same routine can be used to get your dog used to wearing boots.
It’s also a good idea to get your dog used to having his feet dried off with a towel. Since it’s easier to dry off your dog’s feet when he is standing, you can practice the ‘stand’ command. This is another situation where you can practice wiping your dog’s feet one foot at a time and use treats as a reward until you eventually work up to wiping all four paws. If your dog tries to chew the towel when you wipe his paws, use a face cloth which is smaller and harder for him to grab.
Another option to dry your dog’s feet is a Paw Monster. It has a handle and removable absorbent cover which is washable.
You might also want to consider a rear seat protector for your car when you need to take your dog with you. They should be available at your local pet supply store or stores like Home Sense.