Winter has finally arrived! It's the time of the year when cat people start bragging about how they don't have to bundle up and face the brutal weather to take their pet outside. To them I maturely say ... whatever!
Since we have a backyard, it is not as bad for us as it is for those of you who actually have to walk their dogs but, yes, it can be a process. Our dogs are so short that when there is a ton of snow ( OK, even just a couple of inches ) they must wear their coats or they come back with giant ice balls stuck all over them. Bowie hates the snow and comes right back in. Topo loves it and will roll around in it and chase snowballs as if they are toys, constantly wondering where the toy went. We have always said that she'd get by on her looks.
Living in Chicago means living with weather extremes. It can range from blazing hot to freezing cold—sometimes all in the same day! So here are some cold-weather tips to keep your pet safe and happy.
If you are cold, most likely your pet is as well. Consider a coat or sweater for your short-haired breeds. Not only will they look adorable, but also they will be protected from the elements. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he or she comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. We keep some scent-free baby wipes and a towel by the back door for this.
Beware of antifreeze; its sweet scent will attract your pet but it can be a deadly poison to both cats and dogs. The salt that is on the sidewalks can also be a hazard. It can get stuck in the dog's paws, creating extreme pain. If your dog won't wear those cute booties ( spoil-sports that they can be ) , try some Musher's Secret. It is a waxed-based invisible barrier cream that you apply to the paws. It not only protects from the cold and ice but from extreme heat as well.
Since you may choose to turn the heat down a bit when you go to work, make sure that your pet has a nice, warm bed to snuggle in while you are gone. Also, it may seem obvious but never leave your pet in the car in any extreme weather. Surprisingly enough, many people still think a couple of minutes are OK, but the pets' smaller bodies can freeze or heat up in just minutes.
And my last winter tip comes from the late Frank Zappa, who wisely pointed out, 'watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow.'
As a huge Bears fan, I also have to add: GO BEARS! Topo and Bowie are suited up and ready for the big game!
Jan. 25: Wine Tasting Benefit for Red Dog Animal Shelter, 7-9 p.m. at Fine Wine Brokers, 4621 N. Lincoln, $35; www.RedDogShelter.org
Jan. 28: Stay Dog Hotel's Flea-less Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 4130 N. Rockwell. Arts, crafts and products for pets. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Sit Stay Read, an organization that uses therapy dogs to improve reading skills of children in the second and third grades. www.StayDogHotel.com