For senior dogs, winter can be a particularly fraught time. Cold temperatures and icy paths can make the fun of going outdoors painful for the dog and stressful for the owner. Walks are much slower and there is little canine rejoicing in freshly fallen snow. But dogs need to move, so what's the best way to handle cold weather situations for the well-seasoned dog? Here are a few tips:
1. Ease up the joint stiffness They may need extra glucosamine in the winter time. Glucosamine can be found at many pet stores in lots of different treats. It helps limber up the joints. In warmer weather, your dog might not feel so stiff. But when cold weather sets in, the muscles and tissues in backs and legs can expand causing inflammation.
2. Protect their paws. Consider some booties for your dogs' paws. Whether you have a small dog who struggles in the snow, or a larger pup whose furry paws get chunks of ice caught in it, if the paws are uncomfortable, the walk will be treacherous. Your dog might need to practice walking around with dog booties, but a good, well-fitting set will tighten up easily and allow your dog to walk comfortably through snow. Not protecting their paws can lead to them putting additional stress on already stiff joints.
3. Use pet-safe ice melter This is a good idea regardless of your pet's age. For your driveway and sidewalk, grab a large container of pet-safe ice melting pellets. These are readily available at most pet supply shops. They should be safe for most wildlife to trod upon. The problem with the non-pet safe pellets is if they get embedded in paws or fur, your dog will try pulling them out or licking them. Some ingredients could be toxic and dangerous for your pup. Keep your dog and the neighborhood pets safe.
4. Get fashionable Even if your dog was fine running around in snow au natural as a youth, they won't have the same metabolism as a senior dog. A senior dog will get colder than a younger dog. Consider getting your dog a coat. Short-haired dogs in particular need protection from below-freezing temperatures.
5. Check their bedding An orthopedic dog bed can be a wonderful place for your senior pup to lie down after a nice walk. A bed designed to evenly distribute their weight will ease pressure on their joints. Keep this bed around for a while using DogSheetz as a protector!