Nothing beats the sight of dogs joyfully playing in the snow. But truth be told, not all dogs take to snow like a duck to water. Some give the white stuff the cold shoulder (pun intended). Does your dog gaze out at a fresh pack of snow and look at you as if to say, “no thanks?” If your dog refuses to go pee or potty in the snow this can be a real problem. Fear not, in this article we’ll discuss 3 potential reasons why your dog doesn’t like the snow and offer solutions to resolve them.
Why Does My Dog Hate the Snow?
1. Your Dog is Too Small to Walk in the Snow
Sinking deep into snow can cause apprehension and downright fear in some small dogs. They can feel trapped and unable to escape the snow. Small dogs like Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, or low-to-the-ground dogs like Corgis and Dachshunds lack the leg length, strength, or height to power through snowdrifts like a large breed dog can (such as Labrador retrievers and German Shepherds). They are more apt to feel the snow and ice on their underbellies than long-legged dogs.
Shovel a Cleared Pathway for Your Dog to Walk Through the Snow
Designate a space near your backdoor that is kept snow-free and usher your dog on a leash, if necessary, to that place for them to potty. Be encouraging and try luring them with small healthy treats. By shoveling a path that your dog can easily walk on, it will help increase their comfort level in going potty outside in the winter.
Create an Indoor Pet Grass Potty
Provide an indoor pet potty made of faux grass and an odor-trapping pad. These are useful for small, geriatric, and arthritic dogs, especially during nasty snowstorms. Keep a bottle of a commercial protein enzymatic cleaner handy to properly clean up any urine spills and eliminate urine odors in your home.
2. Your Dog Doesn’t Have a Thick Coat to Keep Them Warm
Some dogs feel the cold more than others because they lack a thick coat to insulate them. Breeds with little to no hair like Chinese Crested and Greyhounds get colder quicker than Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, and other northern breeds that sport cold-resisting coats. Dogs lacking these thick coats may shiver, hold up a paw, or whine—signaling that it is far too cold for them and they need to come inside. If you ignore these signs, your dog may be at risk for hypothermia or frostbite.
Have Your Dog Wear a Coat
Fit your thin-coated dog in a canine coat or sweater before venturing outdoors. Make sure the coat fits his torso so he can navigate easily. Wearing winter attire will help him retain body heat.
Limit Playtime in the Snow
Shorten the time your dog spends outside to prevent the risk of hypothermia or frostbite from occurring.
Change Your Dog’s Diet During the Winter Season
Consult with your veterinarian about switching your dog to a quality commercial food during the snowy months that is high in fat. This can provide a surprising metabolized source of energy.
3. Your Dog Has Tender Paws
Salt and de-icing chemicals sprinkled on sidewalks, as well as ice shards, can cut and irritate your dog’s paw pads. Some brands of deicers can be toxic if your dog licks their paws and ingests enough of it. In addition, snow and ice can accumulate between your dog’s paws and hinder his ability to walk.
Groom Your Dog’s Paws
Reduce the risk of ice accumulation on your dog’s feet by having a professional dog groomer clip the hair between your dog’s toes. Coats for long-haired dogs should also be trimmed to prevent ice balls or de-icing chemicals from clinging to their coats.
Protect Your Dog’s Paws Before and After Winter Walks
Dab petroleum jelly on your dog’s paw pads before walking where there are icy or salty surfaces. Or purchase non-toxic deicers to use on your sidewalks and concrete patios. Inspect your dog’s paw pads after each walk. If necessary dip his paws in bowls of room-temperature water and then wipe them with a cloth to rid ice or chemicals from in between his toes.
Have Your Dog Wear Booties
You can also have your dog wear special protective booties that provide added traction on icy surfaces and protect his paw pads. Keep in mind that not every dog is a fan of these. You’ll have a greater chance of him accepting the booties if you introduce them indoors first and use praise and treats to sell the new arrangement. Make sure your dog feels comfortable walking in his booties inside before you progress to the outdoors. Build on each small success.
Whether your dog likes the snow or not, winter weather creates wet and slippery conditions that lead to accidents and injuries. It’s one of several good reasons to have dog insurance for your pup. Pets Best offers a wide range of plans and coverage options to help you find a policy that works for your pet and your wallet.