This article was reviewed by professional dog trainer Shelby Semel, an advocate of positive reinforcement training.
Every summer, we hear (with good reason) warnings about leaving your dog in the car. Just like a hot car can become an oven, a frigid car rapidly cools down and keeps cold like a refrigerator. Never leave your dog in the car in the winter — not even for a minute. In fact, we recommend limiting car travel with your pooches through the cold season, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. If you and your furry friend need to travel this winter, take this advice.
You pile on the boots, gloves, hats and scarves when you brave the elements. People think a dog’s coat is enough, but dogs have different tolerance levels when it comes to the cold. Use a fleece-lined jacket to keep Fido warm. Make sure you get your dog used to wearing a coat before the day it’s actually needed. Invest in a waterproof jacket for when it’s snowing or raining. A sweater will just make the dog colder when it gets wet. And remember, your seat in the car is probably warmer than the one your dog is in. Leave a blanket that your dog can choose to use or not use as needed.
Sidewalks and roads coated with ice, salt and chemicals can be irritating and downright dangerous for your dog. Be sure to wipe your pooch’s paws once you get into the car.
For more pawtection from salt and chemical ice-melting agents, rub petroleum jelly into the paw pads before leaving the house. You can also use booties if your pup will wear them.
As with any time you travel, don’t forgot to pack the water dishes and offer your dog drinks often. Old Man Winter tends to dry skin, and staying hydrated goes a long way. Use plastic or rubber dishes if providing water outdoors, so the dog’s tongue doesn’t stick to the bowl.
Unfortunately, winter travelers sometimes find themselves stranded, which is a very dangerous situation. Make sure to pack a winter survival kit and include the pup essentials, such as kibble, water, blankets, a pet first-aid kit, any dog meds, a copy of the vet records and an extra collar and leash.