Winter Pet Safety at the New Year

As a Southerner recently transplanted to the Midwest, I’m worried about how the cold weather will affect my Chihuahua, “Freddie.” Will I be able to take him outside for walks? — Kylie in Chicago

Smaller dogs do have a harder time in bitterly cold weather, so I would carefully gauge when and how often Freddie can go outside. Ask neighbors and friends for advice on taking dogs out in the cold. Meantime, a few basics should be followed for cold-weather pet care.

- Make sure Freddie has a warm bed to curl up in, and that he stays well-hydrated during winter months. – Purchase a doggie sweater and booties and make sure Freddie wears them every time you go outside. – Keep him on a leash during walks, and monitor him carefully at all times.

- If Freddie is shivering or limping, take him inside immediately, warm him up, and inspect his paws for cuts or frostbite (the frostbitten area will be colder than the rest of his paw).

- For really cold, snowy or icy days, keep a pee pad inside for Freddie to use, and even designate an indoor “go” area if possible.

Sweaters or wraps and booties are available at local pet stores or online. For indoor eliminating, some small-dog owners actually use litter boxes. It may take a little training but can be invaluable on really cold days. Finally, talk to Freddie’s veterinarian about your concerns. He or she will have valuable advice on keeping Freddie healthy and happy as you both acclimate to the colder climate.

Send your questions or comments to, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit © 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.

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