Winterization is not just about packing some de-icer, a scraper and filling up with below-zero windshield-wiper fluid before heading into the mountains in winter. If you’ll be accompanied by a four-legged companion, you’ll want to winterize her, too.
That means always being sure to wipe or wash off your pup’s feet after a winter outing. She’ll otherwise try licking them clean, a natural behavior that could cause her to ingest toxic de-icers used on roads and parking lots. (Tip: Coating paws with a product like Tuf-Foot, Mushers Secret or plain old Vaseline will help protect against abrasion and reduce the icy-foot syndrome).
Don’t sniff at the notion of buying your dog a waterproof coat or vest. Besides keeping her warm, it will help prevent frosting on chest and belly. Booties are also a good idea, both for warmth and for preventing ice buildup between the toes.
If you’ll be snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or just hiking with poles, you might also want to invest in a hands-free leashing solution such as a skijoring harness that fits around your hips and connects to your dog via a bungie cord. This will allow you to keep your hands on the poles and your dog under control! Various kinds of waist leashes also can be found online.