Quandary: Winterize your dog for Summit County conditions
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Quandary, an old and wise mountain goat, has been around Summit County for ages, and has the answers to any question about life, love and laws in the High Country. Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org
This will be my and Princess Pitty Pat’s (my Yorkie) first winter in Summit after living in California for five years. How can I help her enjoy the season?
Wow, you just uprooted that poor pup, without a care for how she wanted to spend the winter months, eh? I’m guessing the Yorkie wouldn’t have voted for Colorado mountain country, but now that you’re here, have no fear, there’s plenty of ways to make the High Country enjoyable for little and big dogs alike.
Welcome to the Kingdom, Princess — I hope you’ll enjoy your wintery abode, but you need to realize life can be hard here for a little dog. Between birds of prey and giant snowdrifts there are plenty of ways to get yourself in trouble, but just like the huskies pulling sleds around, there are plenty of ways to have fun, too. Little dogs need extra pampering in the winter, and as much as I hate to see any animal humiliated with cute little sweaters and booties, for some it is a necessity. However, I do caution all owners to stop and think before purchasing the leopard print leotard: Is this for me or the dog? If it doesn’t have some value for Princess, don’t do it. Smaller dogs and dogs with short fur definitely benefit from an extra layer in the High Country though, and there might be several days when Princess just refuses to go out, unless properly accessorized.
Along with a coat, consider getting booties — sled dog shoes, if you want it to sound tougher — or Musher’s Secret for your pooch. Some pups do great in booties and you’ll find they can stay out a lot longer with a little foot love, but some pups look like you just stole the floor right out from under them when you slip on the clogs. If you purchase booties only to find Princess no longer remembers how to walk, consider using Musher’s Secret. Created by our neighbors to the north for sled dogs, this balm forms a wax barrier on the padding of your dog’s paws to protect from ice that can cut into them and from the cold that can make outings a lot shorter, and possibly even send Fido to the vet with frostbite. Just like shoes, this balm can also help keep snowballs from forming in between those tiny toes. If your dog has a particularly long coat around the ankles, you might also consider a little winter trim so less snow will stick. Who knows, by the time you’ve got those paws in shape, Princess might be ready to tackle a skijoring lesson — that’s right, cross-country skiing, pulled by a Yorkie, won’t the Valley Girls be jealous?
Once you are off the track and back on the city streets, the paws will again require a little extra love. For instance, the same stuff that — hopefully — restricts your greatest-falls highlight reel to the slopes, can wreak havoc on your pup’s paws. Ice melt and other de-icers can cause serious health problems for your pooch if ingested. Let’s face it, some days we all need a little salt and your pup struggles with the urge just as much as you do. So it’s best just to remove temptation. If you take Princess for a walk somewhere that uses de-icer, be sure to clean off your pup’s paws as soon as you get home.
You’ll probably find Princess is using a lot more energy through the winter, too. It is OK to give out some extra food during these cold months when every little thing requires a little bit more work. To make sure the kibble beats out the de-icer in appeal you can also add some salmon oil to keep your silky Princess from turning into a mangy mutt — the oil adds shine to the coat and helps with dry skin. If you find Princess really isn’t eating or drinking, you might need to make another purchase and get her ceramic or plastic water and food bowls. Odd I know, but in the winter some dogs really don’t like metal dishes — and for the big dogs that might have an outdoor bowl, it freezes a lot quicker in a metal dish.
Basically, Princess will be ruling the Kingdom in no time with a little extra work on your part. She deserves it though. I mean, she didn’t move you half way across the country, right?
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