Keep Your Dog Healthy During Chicago’s Brutal Winters

As we inch closer to the winter months in Chicago, it’s time to start breaking out the winter gear to help protect us from the elements. With freezing temperatures and ample snow expected, it’s essential to bundle up in a winter jacket and a pair of sturdy snow boots. Just like their human counterparts, our dogs can be vulnerable to the cruelties of a Chicago winter as well. Here are a few essential steps to take to ensure your pets stay happy and healthy during Chicago winters.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your pets inside as much as you can when the temperature drops. If you have to take them out, stay outside with them. When you’re cold enough to go inside, they probably are too. And just like humans, very young and very old animals are vulnerable to the cold.

If you are one of the many who have to leave your dogs home during the work day, keeping them outside is not the best option. However, no matter what the weather, dogs need exercise and stimulation as much as humans do, so being housebound all winter isn’t a healthy option for either of you. Enlisting the help of a Chicago dog walker or Chicago dog daycare ensures your pup gets the exercise and potty breaks he needs, as well as being kept under the watchful eye of a caring professional so they’re protected from the elements.

Make sure if you have a Chicago dog walker or take your pup to a Chicago day care, they are watching your dog for signals saying they need a little help. Often times they will lift their paws frequently, shiver, limp or pull you back toward the the warm climes of the indoors. If they’re standing on one paw looking like a flamingo, the salt may be burning their paws. Rock salt and ice can melt into their foot pads causing them to become raw and chapped. Keep paws trimmed and clean so you can see if salt is getting between the pads and avoid snow clumps between the pads which can hurt too.

Instruct your Chicago dog walking service to thoroughly wipe their paws off with a towel or wash in warm water and then dry off with a towel. This will prevent your dogs from licking their paws, which may become coated with ice-melting salt and antifreeze, both of which can have negative health ramifications.  You may also request that your Chicago dog walker apply Musher’s Secret, a wax that works really well to protect the pads from cracking, protecting against the sting of salt. Watch your dog, they’ll give you signs telling you what they need.

Some dog owners choose to buy waterproof dog booties, water repellant rain coats, fleece jackets and winter parkas. Sweaters are also especially helpful for small dogs and short-hairs. If your dog has a hard time handling the chilly temperatures and biting wind, keep them bundled up and only outside as long as they are comfortable. Make sure your dog walking service or dog daycare are fully equipped with the information and tools they need to ensure your dog is happy and healthy throughout the frigid Chicago winters.

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