Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. Here are several cold weather safety tips.
- Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your Brittany as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
- Never shave your Brittany down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
- Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your Brittany’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt, and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
- Bathe your Brittany as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
- Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation.
- Coolant antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to clean up any spills from your vehiclev and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
- Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your Brittany a bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
- Make sure your Brittany has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Don’t leave your Brittany alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your Brittany, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed.