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Keeping Dogs Warm, Safe, and Healthy. Now There’s an Admirable Undertaking!

Everybody knows what to do and what not to do with their doggies in winter, right? Well, not always. And even for the most savvy owners, vital information can go missing as our brains busy themselves with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. So there’s no time like the present to take heed from some of the leaders in animal welfare, including the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, and the Humane Society of the United States. Of course, all three agree the best place for your dog during the colder months is indoors with you. But even for those pooches who do live inside the home–and especially for those who don’t–following the sound advice featured below will make for a more comfortable, healthful, and happy winter season.

The ASPCA Has a Thing or Two to Say:

Never let dogs off leash in snow or ice, especially in a snowstorm. We know Fido and Fifi love to run. But dogs easily lose their scent in the extreme cold and can become lost. And, of course, make sure ID tags are on anytime they’re outside.

Thoroughly wipe off a dog’s legs and stomach when they come in from snow, sleet, and/or ice. Plenty of unwanted items cling to their paws, including salt, anti-freeze, and other yucky stuff. And what do dogs love to do? Lick their paws, of course! So avoid tummy troubles and possible poisoning with this straightforward approach.

The myth that dogs do fine in the cold weather because of their “winter coats?” Not so much. This is especially true for breeds with short hair, such as pit bulls and dachshunds. Invest in a warm coat that covers at the very least from the base of their tail to their belly. And remember, this isn’t fashion week. Go for quality, insulated coats rather than flashy and flimsy.

Never leave a dog unattended in the car. This is as much true for winter months as it is for the hot ones. Automobiles can act as refrigerators, holding the cold in and threatening your dog with hypothermia or even worse.

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