Winter weather: keeping your Hounds healthy and warm

Extreme weather is dangerous for our dogs. Extreme heat puts our pups at risk of dehydration and heat stroke. The cold weather can cause all kinds of problems as well. Be sure to take all possible precautions to keep your hounds safe this winter. Here are a few tips! Please read through!

  • Know your hound's health issues going into the winter season. Cold weather will exacerbate any number of preexisting health issues: arthritis, osteoarthritis, dry skin, and hair loss.
  • Speaking of hair, be careful to gauge your hound's tolerance for the cold weather. Every dog has a different level of cold-tolerance. Some hound's coats are thicker than others. Make sure you know how extensively you need to bundle them up before you let them outside. Some hounds might be alright for a quick pee without too much bundling. Others are not.
  • Don't neglect keeping your hound warm inside the house, too. Get them some cozy pajamas. Or a sweater. You can double-layer when they go outside!
  • Prepare for SNOW! If you find the snow and ice slippery, so does your hound! Lay down some sand for them in areas where they have to walk. Older dogs and dogs with arthritis might have difficulties walking through snow or ice.
    • DO NOT use regular rock salt to melt ice and snow in areas where your hound walks . They might eat it off the ground or lick it off their paws later. The chemicals in regular rock salt can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Your pup can also develop dermatitis on their paws, and if their skin is dry, it can become very uncomfortable for them to walk on the salt... You can buy pet-friendly rock salt in department stores and pet stores. You can also opt for the less expensive option: sand. If you take your dogs for walks in areas that others have salted, make sure to thoroughly wipe down their legs and feet when you get home.
    • Keep them away from the antifreeze. Even small amounts of antifreeze can be lethal for your pup.
  • Be very careful of frostbite -- greyhounds have very thin ears. Even the most careful pet owner can find frostbite on their pup's ears during the cold months. Pet owners with black dogs need to be especially careful. Try massaging your dogs ears when they come inside from the cold. Keep them warm. If your dogs can stand them, slip a cozy snood on their heads when they go outside.
Crochet pattern available through GreyBabyCrochet on Etsy. Click the photo for a link.

Crochet pattern available through GreyBabyCrochet on Etsy. Click the photo for a link.

  • Don't leave your dog in the car! While traveling for the holidays, don't leave them alone with the heat off for more than a few minutes. Cars rapidly cool down once the heat shuts off.
  • Keep them away from the holiday treats. Chocolate chip cookies, fudge, candy canes abound. None of them are okay for your hounds. Be wary of hanging candy canes on trees, and keep the Christmas cookies out of reach during holiday parties.
  • Poisonous pet hazards sneak their way into your home over the holidays. Holly, poinsettias, and mistletoe can all cause serious injury to your hounds if you don't keep them out of reach.
    • Be careful only to gift your dogs healthy treats and toys. Unknown allergies can crop up during this season as well-meaning friends and family gift your hounds homemade and store-bought treats they've never had before.
  • Make sure they still get their exercise. Being cooped up in the winter can make us pack on some extra pounds. The same holds true with our hounds. It's much easier to curl up in front of the TV and watch White Christmas than to get out and take a walk when it's bitingly cold, but you've got to romp around with your hounds to keep them healthy and in shape.
    • Be careful not to overfeed!
    • If their feet are sensitive, get them some booties!
  • Careful of your holiday decorations. Tinsel can block your pups intestines if digested. Glass ornaments can break. You don't want bare paws walking over glass!
  • Keep supplemental heat sources cordoned off from direct contact with your hounds. Noses can be easily burned and paws can be caught by space heaters.
  • Keep those collars on and up-to-date.  Winter is a hazardous time for dogs to get loose. Snow can cover up scents and make it difficult for them to find their way home.

Most of all, remember: If you're cold, they're cold.