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Archive for Monday, November 17, 2008

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Winterize your dog

November 17, 2008

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Boquita, left, and Gardel wait at the door for friends. The pair belong to Monica Cabrera Johnson of Lawrence, who submitted this photo.

Boquita, left, and Gardel wait at the door for friends. The pair belong to Monica Cabrera Johnson of Lawrence, who submitted this photo.

Cold weather brings its own safety and health concerns for both people and dogs. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to pay attention to your dog's well-being during the winter. The American Kennel Club offers the following advice to help prepare your pet for the long, cold winter.

Provide plenty of fresh water: Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, and snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.

Provide plenty of food: Feed your dog additional calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so additional calories are necessary. Dogs that are kept indoors with the family and get less exercise during winter months may actually gain weight, so keep an eye on his diet.

Keep your dog's paws dry: Rinse your dog's feet and dry them completely after a walk. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking.

Groom your dog regularly: Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Towel or blow-dry your dog if he gets wet from rain or snow.

Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts: Adequate shelter is a necessity. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold. Place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.

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