Happy Dogs During Winter

In case you haven't heard, our friends way down South are learning all about living with the white stuff ~ snow.
Along with snow plows, salted sidewalks, school closings, and worst of all, the dreaded ice.
The kids are most likely enjoying the unexpected break from classes…
e658b35679a6636a143a70a598973bafUntil they realize on day two that mom can't get the car out of the driveway! This means they can't get to the mall either…oh joy!c4dc303d0487dfbe123876b77e0950e6
I swear, ice cream is the best but ice storms are the worst!
Downed trees mean downed power lines. Just when temps start to rise & ice begins to melt, icicles & thin sheets from siding and windows can fall and cut like glass! This means that even stepping outside the front door can be hazardous.
Speaking of going outdoors ~ remember your best friend and the title of this post ~ Happy Dogs During Winter. Snow can be fun for some of the more adventurous pets. Ice can be miserable & downright dangerous! 
Good news though…unlike kids, keeping dogs happy in winter is easy.
Add a few simple, yet important steps to their daily routine, and they will still be your best friend come Spring.
Fresh water is a must at all times.
Pets are not able to get enough water from licking ice or eating snow.
Use durable plastic water & food bowls outdoors.
They will go to drink & yes, even doggy tongues can stick to metal.
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Be aware if your pet starts to slow down or begins to limp.
Dogs walking in icy or snowy areas are prone to painful paws.
Ice can form on fur between their pads and salt and chemical de-icers will cause dry, chapped, and sometimes cracked paws. Ouch!!!
This will encourage them to lick - a lot!
Ingesting the salt & chemicals will cause severe stomach upset and dehydration & then you've got a much bigger problem!
Here's what worked best for Gracie.
We trained her so every time she came in from the snow she would gladly head towards a big clean towel and lay down in exchange for a treat. I would slowly & gently spray her feet using a spray bottle full of warm water.
Go slow & your pet won't freak out. Get each paw dripping wet, especially between toes and then towel dry.
Your pet will sincerely thank you!
Dog booties are great too & offer protection to those dogs that will tolerate wearing them.
Older arthritic friends deserve a bit more care.
Arthritis is worse during cold and damp weather. Take special care to handle your pet gently, and provide soft (and possibly heated) bedding.
One slip on ice can cause major problems for any animal, especially an arthritic one.
The obvious being injury, immediate pain and soreness after – it can also cause hesitancy to want to walk outside again to go poo!
Snow and ice tend to cover up scent markers which can leave your dog disoriented & circling for what seems like an eternity. Because our patio and yard usually turn into a skating rink, we created a sturdy path from the house out to her favorite "spot" using all our summer beach towels. At night we tossed the crispy towels into the dryer and then put them back out the next morning.
She thanked us profusely!
If you think for a minute that you may lose power and need to evacuate, make sure your animal has up to date tags and medications. Call hotels for reservations and know that not all are pet-friendly. Ask if no-pet policies could be waived in an emergency. If not, know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency.
So, I say to my Southern friends ~ keep the wood pile, pantry, fridge and bar well-stocked.
May you, your family & pets be safe & be happy!
Ending this snowy post on a somber note ~ we lost our beloved Shirley Temple Black today.
Rest in peace snow angel ~
Shirley Temple Black
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