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Cold Weather Tips for Goldens

Winter weather has arrived, and temperatures are dropping below freezing. What does that mean for your golden retriever?

Many golden retrievers love the snow and they don’t mind the freezing temperatures. I know my goldens will lie out in the snow and love making snow angels. When temperatures get extremely frigid, this can be very dangerous for the dogs.

Golden retrievers have thick hair coats that can help keep them warm when outside. Some older dogs or dogs with underlying disease may have thinner coats. They can easily become cold and ill. They should not be outside for more than a few minutes at a time.

Pay extra attention to your dog’s feet. Golden paws have lots of hair, so snow and ice can accumulate in painful clumps between the toes. Dipping the paws into a tub of lukewarm water is the quickest and least painful way to remove any ice between toes. Keeping hair between toes trimmed will also help to prevent this. The ice between the toes can also lead to frostbite which is extremely painful.

Another concern is ice melt products. There are several brands that are safe for pets, but if you are walking your dog away from home you won’t know what has been used. Avoid places where you see it on sidewalks and to be extra safe, wash your dog’s paws in warm soapy water when you return home. Booties are another option. Some dogs do well with them … others not so much! They may be easier to fit on larger dogs, and it will take some conditioning to get your dog to wear them happily.

Do not let your dog lick the ice melt off their paws or the sidewalk. The salt products, even the ones that are safe for dogs, contain electrolytes which can make your dog sick. Be sure to wash the dog’s paws with warm water when coming in the house.

Does your dog need a coat? We love the opportunity to dress our canines in the latest winter fashions, and many dogs will be grateful for the extra warmth. Above 45 degrees, most dogs do not need any extra protection and may be better off without it. Senior dogs may appreciate a warm coat.

Enjoy winter time outside with your golden, but be sure to keep them safe.

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