Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in from sleet, snow or ice. He could ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads also could bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to dry him completely before taking him out for a walk. Own a shorthaired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck that covers the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him indoors. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
Vehicle coolant and antifreeze are lethal poisons for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
Reach Judy E. Hamilton at judy.hamil...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.