Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! (with caution)

31 Jan
Many dogs love the snow, the Keeshond adores it!

Many dogs love the snow, the Keeshond adores it!  Clancy looks up as if to say, “C’mon out!  The snow is great!”

While most dogs would want to be indoors (and should be!) cuddling with their human friends in front of the fireplace during the extreme cold spells and snow that have been blanketing much of North America this winter season, there are a few breeds that would actually want to spend more time outdoors.  As you may guess from their fur coat, the Keeshond would be one of them!

Clancy enjoys the companionship of the snow  when he can.

Clancy enjoys the companionship of the snow when he can.

The Keeshond is known as a “Velcro Dog”, always wanting to be by your side.  It doesn’t matter how deep asleep my Kees, Clancy, is or how quietly I try to exit a room…  he pops right up and trots to my side to escort me WHEREEVER I go, and he will plop right back down at my feet when we reach our new destination.  I have found that the only thing that can detach us is snow.  That freezing fluffy white stuff trumps me!

Clancy wishing that the weather was like this everyday.

Clancy wishing that the weather was like this everyday.

As much fun as a Kees may have in the snow, there are some precautions that all dog owners should take to ensure that it remains all fun and games in the snow.

As we struggle to keep our footing in the slippery conditions that winter brings, keep in mind that salts, de-icers and other chemicals are dangerous for your pets. Try to use kitty litter or sand for traction instead. If you must use a chemical, supervise your pet in those areas to make sure they don’t drink from puddles and remove the slush and dissolved product as soon as possible. Wash paws after exposure.  Being a fuzz-butt mom, I keep baby wipes at the door at all times anyway.

Clancy loves to bury his face in the snow.

Clancy loves to bury his face in the snow.

 Staying warm uses up more energy. Pets that spend a lot of time outside need more food, especially protein. Ask your vet if you should vary your pet’s diet for the winter if your dog spends a lot of time outside in the cold.  Dehydration is often a forgotten danger of the bitter cold, for water sources freeze outside. Also avoid using metal bowls this time of year (if you don’t know already from watching “A Christmas Story”, yes, tongues will stick to metal in below freezing temperatures.) 

My snow angel, Clancy.

My snow angel, Clancy.

Check paws to pull out any snowballs that have gathered in between pads which are not only uncomfortable, but also could lead to frostbite!   Snowballs accrue quickly around the furry pads of the Keeshond’s feet.

Be aware that frigid weather lessens the sense of smell, causing more cases of lost dogs than any other time of the year.  Keep your pet leashed or fenced in as they frolic in the snow with an ID tag.

Young Clancy with his best feline friend, "Mr. D".

Young Clancy with his best feline friend, “Mr. D”.

One of the reasons I chose to get a Keeshond was for their love of all living things, especially because they are known to get along well with cats.

So Clancy would appreciate if I gave a public service announcement on behalf of his feline friends.  To protect your vehicle’s engine and to save an animal’s life, remember to knock on the hood of your car or honk your horn before starting your car. Engines can stay warm for hours after being shut off, offering an enticing warm shelter for cats. Before using the remote start feature, give a quick press of the “panic” button on your car key first to scare away any unsuspecting sleeping felines. Clancy sitting in snow 2014

Another vehicle-related danger of winter is exposure to anti-freeze. Ingesting as little as a teaspoon of the harmful chemical of ethylene glycol can kill. It’s sweet taste unfortunately attracts pets, so be sure to promptly clean up any spills and keep it out of pet’s reach.

Clancy ready to play hockey!

Clancy ready to play hockey!

Okay, so now that we’re more aware of things that could harm our beloved pets, let’s discuss fun things you can do in the snow with your dog! 

Many dogs enjoy “snowball toss”…  Clancy will jump up in the air to catch and eat snowballs tossed his way.  He also enjoys snow drift bouncing…  where I encourage him to hop up on snow drifts and hills as I run alongside him.  Clancy enthusiastically bounces from mound to mound, and if it’s soft and powdery, he will burrow into the snow drifts.

Clancy loves snow mounds!

Clancy loves snow mounds!

Another fun game is having him wait where he is, then walking a good distance away, kneel down, stick your hand in the snow and wave it back and forth just under the surface making the snow ripple.  I then tell Clancy to “come and get it get it get it!” and he runs as fast as he can to come and pounce on my hand under the snow.  It’s great exercise for the dog and also gives you a chance to reinforce the “come” command.  Another fun game is to toss a smelly treat into the snow or bury a favorite toy and telling your dog to “find it!”  Clancy enjoys running along the snow with his nose to the ground.  Sometimes he does need hints, but the excitement when he finds the item has to make you smile.

Clancy playing goalie

Clancy playing goalie

If you have a safe opportunity to do so, playing hockey with a soft item with your dog is fun and exercise for all.  Chasing the “puck” or letting your dog play “goalie” or just carefully stick handling with a puck around your dogs legs are some fun ways to interact with your pup in the cold.  Run around in cleats if you’re not experienced wearing ice skates so you don’t risk hurting your dog with the sharp blades of skates!  Also, limit your time on ice with your pup to give his/her paws a break.  If the ice is choppy or has lots of cuts in it from ice skates, be aware that it is sharp and could cut the pads of your pup’s feet, so use caution or buy booties for your pup.IMG_7360

We’d love to hear what your dog thinks of the snow and any outdoor snow games that you enjoy together!

Please share in the comments!

They are your best friend…  Be your dog’s best friend! ~ SSB


Please share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: