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Dogs and Cold Weather

Q. Our Newfy loves the snow and cold. He plays in it and even lays in it until he actually has icicles hanging from his muzzle and between his toes. Should we make him come inside before it gets to that point or does he know when it is too cold and will let us know. Thank you - we love your answers.

A. Extreme temperatures both hot and cold can put a pet at risk, specifically frost bite in this situation. Most dogs such as Newfies can handle quite a bit of cold temperatures. In your dogs case I would not allow icicles to form around the feet since this area will be predisposed to frost bite in very low temperatures.

Q. Should we change our dog's diet at all now that the weather is cold? She is inside much more and less active when inside but when she is outside she really gets a workout.

A. I do not recommend a diet change per se but you can simply reduce the amount you are feeding her by about 1/2 to 1 cup if you notice her gaining weight during the winter months.

Q. We use salt around our doorway and driveway to melt the ice. A friend said that the rock salt and other chemicals are very harmful to the pads of our dog's feet. Is this true? If so, what can we do? Thank you

A. Rock salt can be hazardous both because of its roughness (can cut the pad) and it's potential for drying out the pad when exposure is prolonged. As long as you keep the feet clean and dry they should be fine. If you dog is only casually passing over the salt two to three times a day it should not cause a significant problem.

Q.Why does a dog go into a digging motion after doing its business? Is it to cover the deed or to spread the scent or is it just one of those mysteries?

A. Probably a combination of the three but most of the time it is to spread the scent around a bit.

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Veterinarain Gregory Herndon DVM

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