Keep you dog safe and healthy during cold weather. Helpful tips. - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

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Keep you dog safe and healthy during cold weather. Helpful tips.

(KSLA) -

Cold weather can affect us in adverse ways including endangering our health. The same is true for all domesticated animals. Today, I have some helpful tips on keeping your dog safe and healthy in cold weather. And remember that common sense and good judgment will go a long way.

Keep your dog's coat well brushed to keep it free of tangles and to keep it healthy. Skip bathing in cold weather. Frequent bathing can strip the coat's natural oils and foster dry skin. Also never close shave your dog's coat, especially a long haired breed as it's a natural cold weather protection. You might consider a dog sweater or coat when you dog goes outside. Not only are they fashionable but they are truly warm. Make sure they cover from the neck and chest all the way to the tail.

If you take your dog on frequent walks or let them out in the yard, do remember that snow, wet surfaces and ice can damage their paw pads, especially if salt or chemicals to melt ice are used. One helpful item are dog booties. You wear shoes so allow your dog the same protection. If your pup absolutely refuses the boots, consider massaging petroleum jelly on the pads before it goes outside. Believe it or not, it is a good pad protector. Do it every time.

I you have an outside dog, be sure to provide a suitable shelter such as a dog house or dog igloo. Make sure it is well built and leak free. It should be off the ground or placed on a concrete pad. Try to place it in a sheltered area to shield from wind and the elements. Preferably it should have a split flexible plastic door or a suitable pet door. Use bedding that is approved for pets or use clean, dry hay and change it often. If you use a heat source, make sure it is approved and safely placed. Make sure the food stays dry and the water isn't frozen. Common sense should certainly be used. Put yourself in your dog's place.

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Finally, if your see a dog chained up outdoors with no shelter, report it to the authorities immediately. Offer details along with the address. If possible, take picture as added evidence. Remember that animal cruelty is a misdemeanor crime in all 50 states

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