Snow bunny Kelly loves playing outside in the winter. But I have to take care that she doesn’t get too cold. I keep her outside for shorter periods of time, and make sure it’s not too windy. I think the biggest problem is that the pads on her feet and between her toes get covered with little ice balls if she’s out in the snow for too long. I try to dry them off with a towel when she comes in.
Here are some cold-weather tips from blog reader friends:
1. One reader advises to keep the hair between the pads well trimmed so the snow and ice won’t stick to it.
2. A friend told me that you can rub baby oil on the dog’s pads to help protect them from the winter weather. It seems to me that this would make it slippery to walk. But maybe you should do this after they come inside. Some dogs pads get cracked and dry, so this would help.
3. Only use rock salt on your steps that is safe for pets. Other rock salt can burn and irritate your dog’s sensitive feet.
4. I’ve never used them, but there are dog coats, sweaters and even booties available if your dog will wear them. Better than a shivering pup. One reader’s chihuahuas wouldn’t dream of going outside without their coats.
5. You’ve probably all heard this already, but keep your dog away from antifreeze that may be puddled in the driveway or on the street where you walk. It smells good to dogs, but it’s poisonous.
6. Although it doesn’t relate specifically to dogs, here’s a great point from the Humane Society of the United States. Cats and small animals are attracted to warm engines of parked cars. In case a small animal has climbed up under your hood, bang on the hood to scare them away before getting in your car and driving off.
7. Here’s a great article from eHow on “How to Protect your Pet from Winter Cold.”
8. Most dogs still enjoy playing outside in the snow, just like kids! Have fun!

Paws for Reflection: The changing seasons are beautiful. While I respect the power of frigid weather and icy conditions, I give thanks for this winter with the beautiful white snow formaking snow angels, snowball fights, and playing outside with Kelly.