Protecting your dog in winter
We see more and more dog owners dressing up their furry friends while others wonder if it’s actually useful. Today, we answer your questions in simple and practical terms.
SHOULD I PUT BOOTS ON MY DOG?
It depends on the dog… and the master! Do you enjoy long walks with your companion or are you more likely to only stay out for the time your dog needs to take care of business? For the former, pay attention to the signals your pet is sending. If your pup doesn’t seem to enjoy the walk or lifts his paw by turns, boots are in order. You will both enjoy the walk so much more if your dog is comfortable. Also note that boots have the advantage of protecting dog paws from the irritating salt used on roads in winter. If your dog doesn’t wear boots and walks on salted surfaces, make sure to rinse out his paws when you return home. Take a close look at the paw pads as they can be damaged by ice or very cold surfaces. There are also balms available to protect pads in cold weather.
I PUT BOOTS ON MY DOG ONCE, BUT THEY WOULD NOT STAY ON. WHAT CAN I DO?
Would you buy shoes without trying them on first? The same goes for your dog. You need properly fitted boots: boots that are too big will fall off while boots that are too small can impede blood circulation or simply be uncomfortable, in addition to being hard to put on and off. Take your dog to the store or veterinary clinic to try on different pairs. Avoid boots with an elastic band to be wrapped around the paw: those are uncomfortable and can cause a tourniquet effect, making walking difficult. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed to lower wear and tear.
MY DOG REFUSES TO WALK WHEN WEARING BOOTS. WHAT CAN I DO?
Acclimation is key. The first few times, put the boots on while your dog is lying down and bring his favourite toy. This will build a positive association with the boots. Then, have your dog take a few steps by placing biscuits in front of him. Increase the boot-wearing periods gradually. Playtime with a doggie friend is also a great way to help your pup get used to boots.
IS IT NECESSARY FOR MY DOG TO WEAR A COAT?
Some breeds are well suited for our northern climate. Dogs with dense coats like huskies will of course be more comfortable in winter than tiny chihuahuas. In addition to breed features, it’s important to know that geriatric and very young dogs have a lower tolerance to cold than adult dogs. There will also be variations by individual dog, as is the case for humans. Watch your dog closely. If he is shivering and getting less pleasure from the walk, time to get a coat. Here again, make sure to have your pup try a few models. A good coat will not hamper freedom of movement and will ideally be easy to put on and off. To conclude, I want you to remember that we decide to share our daily lives with a furry friend for pleasure. As such, there are no official rules: it’s all about adaptation!