Labradoodles generally are huge snow-lovers, but sometimes they don't recognize their own limits! Here are a few ideas to help keep your Labradoodles warm and safe in snow and winter weather:
* Keep a close eye on the weather forecast. Doodles enjoy falling snow, but if sleet or hail is falling, your dog should not be outside for more than a quick potty break. * Icy sidewalks can be treacherous for dogs as well as humans. We personally had a dog who took off running, skidded and slipped, caught the front of his leg on a sidewalk joint, and ended up needing eight stitches. If it's icy, keep your exuberant dog on a short leash -- LITERALLY!! * Groom your dog with the weather in mind. Many doodle owners like to keep their dog's fur fairly short to keep maintenance easier, but don't keep it so short that your dog gets easily chilled. Bathe your dog indoors during the winter. It's too cold outside for both of you! * Keep your dog’s toenails trimmed. This will help by allowing your dog to keep their toes closer together. Long, untrimmed nails will force the toes to spread apart, creating a perfect space for ice balls to get stuck. * Applying a small amount of petroleum jelly around your dog's paws and in between the toes will help prevent any build up. There are some products you can buy that are specifically for this, but petroleum jelly will work just fine. * Avoid letting your dog get rock salt on its paws. Rock salt is really hard on their paws; it can cause paws to dry out, crack, or bleed. Additionally, rock salt can make a dog extremely sick or even kill them if ingested in large enough amounts. * Your Labradoodle probably has a thick coat of fur, but using a doggie coat or a child's size sweatshirt will provide your pup with an extra layer of warmth. * There will still be areas on your dog that will get chilled easily, even while wearing a jacket or a sweater. Their feet, especially, get matted with snow easily and get very cold quickly. If you live in an area that tends to be very snowy, teaching your young puppy to accept boots on their paws will save you a lot of aggravation in the future!! * While you and your dog are playing outside, stop every once in a while to brush off snow as best as you can to prevent ice balls from forming. * If your Labradoodle is usually an indoor dog, keep their potty breaks brief and limit their outdoor play time and watch them for signs of becoming too cold.
If your dog does get matted with snow:
* Soak the paws in a bowl, bucket, or tub of warm ( NOT hot) water. This will usually help melt the snow fairly quickly. * You can use a warm towel or a hair dryer set on "low" to help melt off snow and ice on the rest of the body. * If your dog's paws are feeling dry, you can rub in a high-quality paw lotion/balm or some coconut oil to help re-moisturize those paw pads.
We recently saw a post on Instagram on how to use a cooking whisk to help remove snow. The link to the video is below. While we haven't had the opportunity to try it yet, it looks like it would work! If you try it, please let us know how well it worked for you!
Enjoy the winter weather with your "snow dog"!