Friday, January 16, 2015

Are You and Your Cairns Ready for the Cold!

Contributed by a CP Volunteer

Brody considers his options...

Winter is one of the most dangerous times of the year for our dogs.  Are you prepared for cold weather care?

Just because our Cairns (and other dogs) have natural "coats" to keep them warm, that doesn't mean they don't feel the chill.  Falling temperatures can be just as brutal on your dog as they are on you, especially when they are so low to the frigid ground.

It is our responsibility to help keep our dogs warm, safe, and healthy all Winter long, so take special precautions to keep your dog comfortable, both indoors and out.  A nice warm sweater, a comfy plush bed, a sunny spot by the window... These small things can make a real difference inside, but going outside is the bigger challenge.

Teddy and Mom bundle up!
Going Outside
When harsh weather hits us, especially when the temperatures dip below 20 degrees, plus wind chill, it is much more uncomfortable for your dog to go outdoors.  Out he must go, however, several times a day - a necessary fact of life.  Think ahead and be sure the closest potty area is as protected as possible from the wind.  If possible, clear the snow in the potty spot, down to the grass, to make it more attractive for your dog and easier for him to use.  The pads of your dog's feet can quickly freeze up if they have to stand on ice or snow, so it is worth the effort to mitigate this, whenever possible.

Always Go Out With Your Dog
Praise him for getting his business done quickly and promise "Cookies in the house!" as soon as the deed is done.  Also, keep a close eye on his feet.  If his paws are bothering him and he has only done #1, and has not started to squat, pick him up and get him back inside.  When you take him out again later, he'll quickly take care of that unfinished business and give you the opportunity to praise and reward him!  If you are familiar with your dog's natural patterns, you should be able to manage this without suffering "accidents" in the house.

Outside the Safety of Your Own Yard
During the cold snowy months, your dog will run the risk of picking up rock salt, ice, and chemicals on his paws every time you take him beyond the safety of your own yard, out onto the sidewalks, driveways, and streets.  Dogs will naturally lick the salt off their paws, and this can cause serious inflammation in the digestive tract.  Wipe your dog's paws thoroughly every time he comes inside, and make sure there are no ice balls between his toes or on the soles of his feet.  If your dog will wear boots and if you can manage to put them on so they don't fall off along the way, this is another great way to protect your dog's paws.  Just be sure to wipe their undercarriage thoroughly to remove any undesirable debris that might otherwise end up in your dog's tummy.

Keep Extra Bath Towels Handy
Whether you have a dog that loves to play in the snow or one that just dashes out quickly to do his "business" and runs back in, your dog can get caked with snow every time he goes out that door.  Keep extra bath towels by the door so you can wrap him up quickly and keep him warm as you carefully strip out the snow balls and absorb the moisture from his coat.

Rheita warms up with her red plaid coat from CP
Another thought:  Consider a warm coat or snow suit that will greatly minimize this clean-up time.  Many feel they are worth every penny!  Check out out CP shops on Amazon or Ebay and see what we have in stock, or see what's been donated to the CP Web Thrift Store

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