The following article will outline my Top 5 Winter Safety Tips to help keep your Frenchie safe and healthy throughout the winter months.

Walking in the Dark: During the winter, you’ll often find that your walking your dog in the dark, whether it be early in the morning or in the early evening. With that, I certainly recommend a reflective collar and leash be used at all times. You can also find many winter coats that have reflective strips installed so that your dog can remain visible to motorists.

Keeping Warm: I find most Frenchie owners already implement this, but it always a good idea to invest in a coat for your Frenchie to wear while he/she is outside. The coat should fit snuggly, but should not be restrictive or too loose as if it does not fit properly, it’s benefits are often negated.

Protect their feet: As the sidewalks are often salted this time of year and can have serious implications to the health of the feet/pads, I certainly recommend to have some sort of protective foot wear. This could be slip on boots if tolerated by your Frenchie, but I also find a product called Invisible Boots work well: The product is applied to the pads of the feet and are designed to protect the feet while allowing the pads/feet to breathe. If using boots, once again make sure they are neither too tight, nor too loose. If your dog will not tolerate either protective application, it is imperative to use a damp washcloth to remove any salty debris from the paw once returning from a walk and exposure to salt.

Winter toxins: Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) which is typically used in vehicles during the winter month is extremely toxic and often fatal to dogs (and cats for that matter) who consume. Typically, antifreeze has a sweet taste making it a desirable substance for your dog to consume. Consider using a pet-friendly antifreeze containing propylene glycol instead. Make sure antifreeze is always out of reach and monitor vehicles for any signs of leakage.

Winter Weight Gain: We discussed in previous articles the importance of keeping your Frenchie an ideal weight. Typically dogs will gain weight in the winter as a result of less outdoor activity. This often results in the dog becoming overweight by spring time. Once the dog regains its activity in the spring/summer, the winter-weight is often lost by fall, and the cycle continues. My recommendation is to feed a little bit less during winter as they are less active, and in some cases, feed a bit more during the summer to meet the caloric demands of the body while he/she is more active. This will usually result the dog staying the same (and hopefully ideal) weight through the year.

Dr. Brad Hinsperger, DVM