Winter survival tips for the green dog!
By Leslie May and Johann, the dog, of RaiseAGreenDog.com
There is nothing Johann likes better than playing in the snow, (well, except agility, of course.) See? That’s JoJo and Gracie the other day, wrestling away. But, if you live in many parts of the country, it’s been just plain frigid the past week or so! Winter time can be a tough time for dogs – it’s difficult for them to get enough exercise, they get bored, and the dangers increase in their environment. So what’s a green dog to do? We thought we’d share a few of our top tips for keeping your green, or aspiring green, dog happier, healthier and safer this Winter.
1. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice on roadways and sidewalks will not only irritate the pads of your dog’s feet, but if ingested they can be very toxic. Keep your pet away from the streets and sidewalks that have salt put down. And if they have to venture out into these areas, wipe their paws the minute they come in from outside with a damp cloth. An even better idea would be to make your dog some homemade dog boots to wear around these areas, and to keep their paws nice and comfy in freezing temperatures. If you do have to put something down on your sidewalk, patio or driveway to keep from slipping, look into using sand, gravel, or an old runner mat. You can also find pet friendly deicers at your local pet store.
2. When it gets below freezing, it’s not safe for most dogs to be out in the cold for any length of time. Just like humans, a dog is susceptible to frostbite. Be sure to keep a sharp eye on your dog’s behavior for danger signs and never leave him in the yard for more extended periods when temperatures dip below freezing. It’s also good idea to bone up on information about hypothermia in dogs and how to recognize the symptoms.
3. Trim the excess fur from footpads and toes of longer haired dogs. It makes it more comfy in the snow and cuts down on those painful ice balls between their toes. You can also rub a little Salmon oil on their paws to help keep the ice balls from forming, and they can lick it off safely when they come indoors.
4. Be very careful with your dogs around rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes. Dogs are drawn to those areas like magnets and during the winter months they can be deceivingly dangerous.
5. Also, be careful letting your dog off leash in snowy or icy conditions. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost during these times. And make sure they always wear ID tags.
6. Watch out for that anti freeze! It can leak onto driveways and roads, and in your garage. It smells and tastes very good to dogs, but it is highly poisonous and can be lethal to your canine companion if ingested. Keep this phone number and link on hand, as well as your vet and emergency vet number handy, just in case of an emergency.
7. When it’s very cold like it has been the past several weeks here in the Midwest, we can’t get outside to play, hike or even take a nice long walk! So what can you do to keep your dog busy, active, out of trouble and in shape, when you can’t get in your regular activities? Lots of things….here’s our short list:
A) Teach your dog to walk on a treadmill, it’s great indoor exercise.
B) Learn how to help your dog work out on an exercise ball, there are several resources on dog exercise ball work, just do a quick Internet search.
C) Play some fun indoor games with your dog; like hide and seek, find target, or work on an agility skill; like table downs/sits using an ottoman.
D) Teach your dog new tricks, like beg, roll over, back up and more to help them be more aware of various parts of their body, build some muscle for other activities, help them stay in shape both mentally and physically, and out of trouble.
E) Sign up your dog for winter indoor classes at your local training center, for obedience, agility, rally, and more.
F) Look into the amazing interactive and intelligent dog toys on the market. They can be great brain builders.
G) One other thing we like to do to keep JoJo and Gracie healthy and having fun during the deep of Winter is making us some yummy, healthy, homemade treats. Their absolute favorites are homemade Sweet Potato Chews and homemade Marrow Bone Stew. Oh so good on a long Winter’s day.
And when it warms up a bit, get out there and have fun with your dog! ‘Cause dogs know how to have fun.
Leslie and Johann
About Leslie and Johann: Leslie May was raised in a green family and learned early on the importance of eating healthy and the effects of everyday life on the environment. So naturally when she adopted Johann she wanted him to live the healthiest, most eco-friendly life possible. Soon she was researching and applying green and eco-friendly practices to Johann’s life and writing about it on Johann’s personal blog. That’s when she discovered that others were very interested in information about raising a green dog, too. So in 2007 RaiseAGreenDog.com was born. The site has grown from a blog to a full website devoted to providing a wide variety of tips, information and ‘green’ dog products to help other learn how they can raise a green dog. Johann and Leslie enjoy their spare time training and competing in agility, hiking, and learning new tricks.
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