1. Dog pads protect them from all elements of winter weather.
Pads provide a lot of protection, but they are still susceptible to cuts and frostbite. Try to avoid ice, especially visibly sharp pieces. Remove snow balls that form between the toes – talk about uncomfortable! Check for cracks or bleeding. Massaging your Lab’s paws with petroleum jelly or other paw protectants before going outside can help fend off salt and chemicals.
2. Dogs do not absorb antifreeze or other harmful chemicals through their paws.
Again, pads provide a lot of protection, but it’s possible for chemicals to be absorbed through this area, as well as other areas of skin. Wipe down your Lab’s paws after each walk, in addition to his belly. That Labrador tongue likes to lick, and your Lab could end up ingesting harmful substances inadvertently. If you are spreading ice melt yourself, on the driveway for instance, choose one that is pet friendly.
3. Dogs should gain weight in the winter to stay warm.
After all, we seem to! But as is the case with humans, “beefing up” isn’t always the best idea because activity tends to reduce when the snow hits – so your Lab may need less food, not more, depending on its activity level. If you and your Lab are still fairly active during the cold season, then maintain your Lab’s diet or ask your veterinarian about whether the quantity should be increased, since it definitely takes calories to maintain body temperature.
4. Dogs don’t get dehydrated when it’s cold outside.
We all know how dry our skin can get when it’s snowy and cold, and drinking water can help fight against it. It’s the same for Labs. Dogs are just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Make sure your Lab has plenty to drink, especially if the water dish is left outside and freezes over.
5. Dogs are safe in the car in the winter.
Though less lethal than a hot car, cars can still get colder than the outside temperature if left for long and in an exposed area. Labs are fortunate to have a double layer coat, which helps, but they can feel cold just like us. In addition, Labs – or any canine – with chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart or kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature. Add moisture from breathing and now you’ve got a damp cold environment. Don’t leave your dog in a vehicle for a long time or in an area where he is vulnerable to being stolen.