Our four-legged friends have long enjoyed an interesting past and an important part of canine history even in fiction. Think about Toto from The Wizard of Oz, one of the most well-known and beloved animals of all time. Faithful and loyal, Toto followed Dorothy all the way down the yellow brick road. After all, they went to see the great and powerful Wizard together, then confronted and defeated the wicked witch of the West.

Here in the real world, bigger dogs often make a larger impact when it comes aiding their masters. The brave actions of dogs are often left unnoticed as they serve in the military, on police forces and as service dogs all over the world. German Shepherds alone make up a remarkable number of “top ten” lists for their daily heroics.

From smaller, feisty terriers to enormous Saint Bernards, whether they’re helping someone over the rainbow or rescuing people in the mountains, these little heroes deserve some extra care and attention during colder winter months.

Indoor Animals

You’d think that animals that are primarily kept indoors would be safe from the furies of winter, but they’re also more susceptible to the drying effects of our HVAC systems. This can mean anything from dry skin to the effects of dehydration. Make sure to watch them for signs of itching, peeling or cracked skin and give them plenty of fresh, clean drinking water.

 

Outside Pets

While we all know that they need adequate shelter and should never be left outdoors, especially overnight when the temperatures fall below freezing, we also need to check their water bowls regularly to ensure they aren’t frozen or full of snow if the weather is as such. Animals also expend more energy during colder months, so they may require a little extra food – no so much as to make them overweight or obese, so be careful with this type of feeding regimen.

Caring For Their Hair

A dog’s hair can help them to stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. But when it comes to keeping them warm, when their fur becomes damp or wet, their coat can sometimes trap the cold against their bodies. Be sure to brush their hair regularly and when it becomes wet, dry with a towel. Avoid using direct heat, like a blow dryer as this could dry their sensitive skin.

Pause For Their Paws

Their fur can also grow thick around the areas of their paws, which can present extra problems during winter months. Again, you’d think this extra amount of hair would be helpful, but in many cases it can make matters worse, especially if it becomes matted.

Debris like snow, ice, mud and rocks can become trapped in this area and cause big problems for smaller feet. Be sure to regularly check their nails, paws and this area for signs of cracking, damage or injury. Make sure both the hair found here and their nails are kept well trimmed.

If you’re unsure about trimming your dog’s hair (or nails), be sure to take them to a professional groomer. These experts are well versed in cutting a canine’s hair specific to their breed type and the seasons of the year. With a little bit of added care and attention, our four-legged friends will stay safe and warm with us this winter and for many years to come.

Written by:  Amber Kingsley