Winter Tips for Your Frenchie
If you walk before sunrise or after sunset, carry a flashlight and wear clothes with reflecting qualities. There are devices that flash like bicycle warning lights for dogs' collars or you can put them on their leash. Be visible.
For Frenchies in cold climates:
Invest in a good quality coat for your Frenchie. Frenchies don't have much undercoat to keep them warm and some literally don't have the sense to come in out of the cold, so it's your job to protect them.
Don't allow your dog to stay outside very long. No unaccompanied time in the yard. If it's too cold for you to stand outside without a coat, it's too cold for your Frenchie to be out there--even with a coat on. Of course, it goes without saying that Frenchies are not outside dogs in even balmy weather.
The colder the weather, the shorter the walk should be.
Frenchies' ears are very susceptible to frostbite. Yes, your dog will look a little silly, but if it is under 30 degrees and there is a breeze then that doggy needs a hat.
If your area salts the roads and sidewalks, be sure to wash your dog's feet when you get home. A povidone-iodine wash is great--povidone is the generic for Betadine and it will clean your dog's feet as well as disinfect them in case he got any small cuts or scrapes on the ice. You can get it inexpensively at any drugstore. To use it, blend 1 part povidone-iodine to 10 parts water (or until it is about the color of iced tea.) Put some in a plastic container (a 16 oz cottage cheese tub works well) and soak your dog's foot for about 20 seconds. Wipe the foot carefully, dry it, and repeat with the other feet. If your dog will accept it, some people have their dogs stand in a dish pan or even a 9x13 cake pan. The kitchen sink works if you have a little Frenchie. An even faster way to rinse toxins off is to just put him in the tub and use the shower head on his feet. Be sure to dry between the toes. At the very least, a wipe with a warm, wet washcloth will help remove salt and other toxins from your dog's feet and legs. If you have a dog that will tolerate them, you can also use protective boots or rubber booties.
Moisturize! Your dog's skin, nose, and paws can get just as dry and cracked as your own skin. Invest in a good nose butter for your dog's nose if it looks crusty. Paws can be moistened with a little coconut oil, and ask your vet about a good moisturizing shampoo if your Frenchie's skin starts to flake. Some vets suggest adding a bit of coconut oil to a dog's meals, but make it a small amount to avoid gastrointestinal upset and weight gain.
Older Frenchies might really feel their aches and pains in colder weather. If your dog has had any back problems or suffers from arthritis or joint conditions, be especially careful to avoid icy stretches.
Even if your Frenchie is a snow lover, there is a limit to how much cold weather exercise even healthy young Frenchies can take. Keep an eye on your dog's breathing, and if they seem to be having a hard time, call it a day.
Isla in VA
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