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Wintertime Fun

December 19, 2013

Bendites and their pets love the outdoors and wintertime is no exception. You’ll just need to take some precautions. First, decide when cold is too cold. A good rule of thumb: Long-haired dogs can play outside when it’s above 20°F; short-haired dogs, young pups, and elderly dogs should wait until the mercury rises to 40°F. Dogs that are suited for cold weather can spend hours outside. Smaller breeds and younger dogs cannot handle the cold as well so their exercise sessions should be kept shorter.

Proper clothing increases the comfort level of being outside on chilly days. Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Huskies are dogs that love cold weather and do not need any type of clothing. Keep their fur well-groomed because matted hair is not very efficient insulation. Smaller breeds and breeds with short coats are examples of dogs that need some type of protective covering if they are going to be outside for longer periods. Paw protection is important for pets that will be walking outdoors where snow can pack between their toes or they can step on sharp pieces of ice.

While your pets are outside, keep a close eye on them. Animals are vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia in less than an hour. If you see shivering, it’s time to come in. Frostbite commonly affects the tips of the ears, tail, scrotum and the paws, especially the toes. After you get back from your walk, wipe off your dog’s paws. It’s not only good to keeping the house clean, it also wipes off the salt and chemicals people use to melt snow and ice.

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the wintertime with your trusted companions.

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