Ever notice how, when they step into a fresh snowfall, most dogs get all bouncy and goofy? There’s a lesson there. They benefit from time outside when it’s cold just as much as their owners do. To find out how to keep tails wagging when temperatures plummet, we checked in with vets in spots where winter hits hard.
“Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside,” says Brooke Wilson, who runs a mobile veterinary service in south-central Alaska. “Getting out and exercising your dog in winter will keep you both more mentally and physically healthy.” (As will following these 13 simple ways to keep your dog healthy.)
Wondering if your dog needs a second coat? Wilson offers a rule of thumb: When out for an easy stroll at temps below 40°F, put short-haired dogs in jackets, especially if it’s windy or damp out. For long-haired or thick-coated breeds, save the extra layer for when it’s below freezing. But if you plan to romp, run, or play with your dog, you can skip the jacket. “Dogs are good at using their metabolisms to create body warmth, but it’s harder for them to cool off, because heat only escapes by panting or through their paw pads,” says Wilson.
Sally Schlueter, an integrative veterinarian in Vermont, says you can give your dog spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric to improve digestion when it’s cold out. Always consult your dog’s veterinarian in case of food sensitivities and to work out doses based on your pet’s size and age.
Here are 5 essentials your four-legged pal needs this season:
(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)