American Kennel Club offers pointers for keeping dogs safe and healthy in frigid weather.

By Maureen Harrington
December 30, 2008 05:00 PM

You’ve gotten out your boots and mittens, made sure your tires are ready for snow, but have you thought about your pets? Dogs in particular need a little wintry TLC.

In the AKC’s list of “To Dos” are some surprises.

* Antifreeze smells and tastes good to canines; so keep that out of reach.

* Dogs are susceptible to frostbite on their ears, tails and feet, so don’t leave your pet out for long. The wind chill can make it colder than the temperature readings indicate, so monitor out-of-doors play time.

* Snow can muffle scents, so dogs may get more easily lost or confused about their whereabouts.

* Don’t leave pets in the car. It’s too cold and if you leave the car running the carbon monoxide can sicken or kill a pet.

More obvious, but just as important:

* Remember to give your pet enough water; dehydration is just as serious in the winter as summer. Dogs who are out a lot will expend more energy keeping warm, so up the kibble. And if yours is an indoor animal you may want to watch for weight gain if they’re not out exercising as much as in warmer weather.

* No one likes wet feet and that goes for your dog. Rinse and dry his paws after a walk and use petroleum jelly on cracked pads. And do groom regularly, because a well-groomed coat will more efficiently keep your furry friend warm.

* You don’t walk around barefoot on your tiled floors during a cold snap, so remember that your pet may need a little more padding on the floor than usual. In uncarpeted areas, lay down more blankets or pads so pets can stay warm.

Looking for a warm coat for your dog? This one is extravagant, but sure looks cozy!