Sunday, February 3, 2013

5 Ways to Help Alleviate Your Dog's Snow Anxiety

Winter snow can either bring excitement or stress into the life of your dog.  Many dogs enjoy walks over snow covered paths and running and playing fetch in large drifts and piles.  Others view the "fluffy white stuff" as a nuisance and something to fear.  For those whose pups dread stepping foot out the door when they see white, encourage a new venture for your pup while keeping them safe and happy.

1 - Clear a Path & a Spot

Small dogs, or those with short legs, may not like going out in deeper snow since sinking in to the snow may cause fear.  To encourage them to go outside to "go", clear a path that leads to a clean spot for your pup to "do what they need to do". To encourage some outdoor play, shovel paths in the snow for your pup to walk through.  Your furry friend may enjoy their snow maze so much, over time, their fear of snow may become a thing of the past.

2 - Bundle Up

Small dogs, young pups, senior dogs, and those with a short coat would benefit from a sweater when going out in cold weather. Fashionable and functional cold weather gear is widely available in all sizes, styles and colors. Choose a sweater that fits comfortably and does not interfere with your dog's ability to walk properly. Paw Print Island Pet Boutique has a selection of cozy sweaters for your pup as well as Dog Walking Scarves to keep you warm and cozy when out walking with your favorite furry friend.

3 - Watch The Salt

Rock salt is very irritating to your dog's paws and toxic if ingested.  Snow and salt can become embedded between paw pads can be uncomfortable and cause damage to your pet's feet. To help prevent snow and ice from sticking, spray them with some non-stick cooking spray to the bottom of their feet or rub them with petroleum jelly before venturing out.  When out walking, try to stay clear of piles of salt. Once back inside, wipe your dog's feet with a damp cloth to remove salt residue and remove snow and ice that may have become trapped between the pads.

4 - Encourage Play

Keep your pup active while outdoors by encouraging them to run and play. A game of fetch becomes a whole new activity when the ball has to be searched for and retrieved out from under layers of snow. Create a winter scavenger hunt by hiding treasures for your dog to search and find.

5 - Encourage the First Step

Does your small dog refuse to step out the door when there is snow but then enjoys it once outside? Sometimes it's that first step that's the problem. Leashed and ready to go, small dogs can first be carried outside.  This allows a gradual acclimation to the change in temperature and eliminates the feared "first step". Go a distance from the door, put them down in a safe, cleared spot, and allow them to sniff and explore the snow. Then safely walk back to the door. Over time their fear of the snow or the "first step" by disappear altogether.

By making it a fun an positive experience you can avoid this extra challenge of winter  After a few pleasant experiences out in the snow, your pup learn to tolerate, or even enjoy, winter's snowy weather. .

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