A New Hampshire winter can be tough on humans. In can be even worse for our canine family members. I found out last week, Marley doesn't seem to mind the snow. Like me, he seems to prefer a sunny summer day at the beach...but after a couple of times of getting his feet in the snow he seemed to adjust just find.

However, there are a few things all of us as dog owners need to be aware of. For example, cold, dry air can cause itchy and flaky skin. If it's snowing, raining, or sleeting while you're outside on a walk, make sure you have a towel handy to dry your pooch off after being outside. Don't forget to wipe down their paws. It's especially important to get between their toes, and remove the caked on snow balls around the pads of their feet.

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Some people have their dogs wear snow boots. I can't imagine Marley would like that, but if your dog does, consider yourself lucky. According to the ASPCA, you should massage petroleum jelly into into their paw pads before going outside to help protect from salt and chemical agents. And remember...chemicals from ice-melting agents can be deadly if licked off of bare paws. So please pay close attention to your dog's feet.

Since dogs burn extra calories trying to stay warm in the winter, feeding them a little extra at dinner can't hurt. And unless they're really dirty, avoid giving your dog a bath.  Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.

Finally, if it's too cold for you...it's probably too cold for your dog. So keep them inside except for necessary potty breaks. If left outside, your dog can freeze to death. And don't think leaving them in the car is safer. Just like leaving a dog in a hot car without AC in the summer is dangerous...cars can become refrigerators in the winter. Your BFF (best furry friend) has a coat...but it isn't as warm as you think.

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Dogs can love the snow and the winter weather just as much as people. But they rely on us to keep them warm and safe. Have fun outside this winter with your dog. Just make sure you take extra care to ensure their safety.