Winter weather can be brutal in South Dakota.  Not only may this time of year be harsh for people, but for our dogs as well.

Believe it or not, dogs' skin can suffer as much as human skin does during the winter. Dogs can suffer from chapped paws along with itchy and flaky skin when they are exposed to winter's dry and cold air, chilly rain, snow, and sleet.  But that's not all the discomfort our furry friends can experience during the winter.

ASPCA reports that daily walks can be relentless for dogs during the winter.  ASPCA explains, "Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws."  In other words, salt on the ground is definitely not a dog's best friend.

However, dogs still need to be walked daily in the winter to get some fresh air and to do their business.  How can you keep your pups safe this winter?  The ASPCA suggests some helpful tips:

  • Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as it comes inside: This will help keep your dog's skin smooth.  It's also not a bad idea to remove any snow in between the dog's toes so it’s pads remain clean and dry.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter: I never knew this fact about dogs' fur.  Apparently, this is not a good idea.  The ASPCA states that all dogs need just a trim during the winter months.  Not a crazy, dramatic haircut.
  • Wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach after every walk: This practice is necessary to remove all salt and other chemicals used during the winter.  Check for any cracks on its paw pads or redness in between its toes.
  • Petroleum jelly and booties: This sounds silly, but it really works!  My dog, Honey, loves to have petroleum jelly rubbed on her paw pads.  It helps them stay smooth!  We thought about buying her booties, but that's a little too over the top for her.
  • Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months: Don't feel bad if you give your dog an extra treat here and there!  They need a little extra "love" to stay warm. Also, always remember to keep your pets hydrated!
  • If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet also, so keep your animals inside: If your dog lives outside, and the temperature is below freezing, then it's time to take your dog inside for the evening.

Click here for additional tips on keeping your pets safe this winter!

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