January 31st, 2018 9:00 AM
Sometimes, a sunny, 45-degree day is the reminder we need to know that winter won't last forever. But don't let a mild day in January erase your responsibilities as a dog owner. As this last week proved, winter always returns, meaning your dogs will have to endure several more weeks of a colder climate. In a previous column, we looked at ways to keep your dog's paws safe and warm when it's cold outside. This week, we'll look at other aspects caring for your dog during these winter months.
Mind your back—and theirs
Coats are a dog's friend. You don't have to go all American-Girl-Doll and buy matching winter parkas for you and your pooch, but it's important to keep your dog's spine covered when he's outside. Obviously, heartier and cold-weather bred dogs aren't as bothered by the cold. In fact, a lot of dogs embrace the snow, but a coat can help keep them warm and protect their bodies from the wind. If you're not sure if you should provide your pooch with an extra layer of warmth this winter, go back to the simple rule: If you're cold, it's a good bet that your dog is cold, too.
Still, coats should be worn outdoors, not inside. In fact, it's a good idea to remove all outer layers when dogs re-enter the house since they often have a hard time self-regulating their body temperatures. Don't let them get used to an extra layer of warmth in your home. Of course, if you have a small dog and a cold house, a winter sweater is a good thing.
Also, it's important to remember that a cold-weather coat can tangle and mat your dog's fur so make sure you continue to brush your her often, even when it's cold outside.
Now that your dog's sporting the latest in canine outerwear, here are a few more cold-weather tips:
By taking a few precautions, you can be sure your dog is happy and healthy this winter. Don't let the cold weather keep you and your four-legged friend inside until April. A nice walk with your dog on a sunny day will do you both some good. And don't worry, spring will be here soon enough.
Jill Showalter owns Yuppie Puppy and Doggie Day Play in Oak Park. She has personally tended to over 100,000 dogs since 2007 and has shared stories and advice with numerous dog owners.
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2018 Answer Book, please click here.
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