Brrr, the weather outside has gotten quite frightful! The frigid temperatures, numbing wetness, and biting chill in the air can cause discomfort for your furry companion. Paying attention to your pet’s well-being during the wintertime can keep him safe and comfortable, and it may even save his life. Read on for our 18 winter tips for a happy dog.
1. Try to catch the sunshine
Try to walk your dog during late mornings or early afternoons and spend your playing time while exposed to the sun. Avoid sticks when outside. Instead, keep your dog’s toys in your backpack!
2. Watch out for frostbite
If you take your dog out in the cold, the body will try to pull blood to the center and stay warm. The dog’s paws, ears, and tail may get so cold that ice crystals may start forming in the tissue and cause damage to the dog. The worst thing about frostbite is that it is not easy to notice. Remember to watch out for pale or gray skin, hard and cold.
Another essential step to remember is that when frostbitten areas get warm, they can cause extreme pain. Severe frostbite may turn black and slough off.
3. Check the temperature
Although your dog has thick fur, you may need to get him a sweater for long winter walks that would cover the belly and neck. It will still not prevent frostbite, as your dog’s ears, tail, and feet will be exposed, but it will prevent the cold from getting to your dog fast!
4. Prevent hypothermia
Another serious health concern to be alert for if your dog spends too much time out in the cold or gets wet in cold temperatures is hypothermia. Also, dogs with poor health circulation may get hypothermia if exposed to cold temperatures. Milder cases of hypothermia will cause shiver, while the dog’s feet and ears get colder and colder.
Hypothermia may also cause your dog to show signs of weakness, depression, and lethargy. If the condition gets worse, muscles will stiffen, heart and breathing rates slow, or your dog may also start not responding to stimuli.
5. Pick where your dog plays
It may be exciting for your dog to play in the snow for long hours, but remind yourself not to get caught up in the moment and lose track of time! Your dog needs frequent comebacks for water and warming! If you are playing with your dog at an unknown location, do not let your dog go too far away from you – as the dog may get lost and even worse, walk on unsafe surfaces like frozen lakes and ponds!
6. Your dog will be happy indoors
Our dogs need to be with us indoors. They are the most comfortable if you make it possible for them to live inside with you while taking him out for frequent walks and exercise! It is not at all recommended to leave your dog outdoors when the temperatures get on the colder side. Plus, there are many great ways to keep your dog entertained and playful indoors!
7. Keep a cozy bed
In addition to limiting your dog’s time outdoors, take care of where your dog sleeps during wintertime. Do not let your dog sleep on a cold floor! The right bedding will make sure your dog is warm. Make sure you also choose the right bed:
- A warm blanket may create a snug environment for your dog.
- Raised beds keep the dog off cold floor tiles.
- Heated beds keep the stiffness away from ageing joints.
8. Heaters are not the next best thing
Even though your dog may often seek heat during harsh cold winters, avoid space heaters if possible. Installing a baseboard radiator will prevent the risk of your dog getting burnt. Fireplaces are not the best option either, as you must make sure you have a pet-proof system to keep your dog safe.
9. Moisturizing is key
Just as it happens with humans, your dog’s skin may get dry and flaky because of the dry and cold weather. To avoid the burden, try adding skin and coat supplements to your dog’s food as well as fish and coconut oils to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. If you notice that your dog’s ears, paws, or tail are dry or even cracking, apply coconut oil on the area topically.
10. Groom your pet
To keep your dog adequately insulated, maintain a clean and well-groomed coat! After bathing your dog, you should dry his fur thoroughly before taking a walk outside!
11. Take care of their paws
Dogs also suffer from cracked pads! If your dog has furry feet, trim the hair growing between his pads so that ice does not build-up in-between. Winter salt that is found on city sidewalks can burn your dog’s pads and is also toxic. To prevent unnecessary trouble, rinse or wipe your dog’s paws to remove the salt. Do not let your dog lick his paws before cleaning. You may also use dog booties if you notice your dog showing any signs of discomfort when outside for a walk.
12. Do not overfeed
Do not think you should feed your dog to create layers of fat that would protect him from the cold. It is not an option unless your dog lives outdoors during this cold weather. Look after your dog’s activity level, and then adjust the calorie intake accordingly. High-quality whole foods and meat will provide a healthy coat and proper energy levels in the winter.
13. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Dehydration may happen in winter. Eating snow is not the best substitute for drinking fresh water. Make sure you keep changing your dog’s water and that he has access to it the whole time, especially if you keep him outdoors. Break the ice that may form on top of the bowl outdoors.
14. Keep away from toxins
Antifreeze, a very present toxin, especially during winter, may be fatal for your dog to lick or drink. Keep your dog away from the garage or the driveway where antifreeze or other such harmful chemicals may be encountered.
15. Remove snow
Snow removal is a great idea, especially if piled up near fences that your dog may climb. Pile the snow away from fences if you are going to clear the snow in your yard. As temperatures rise and the sun comes out, the snow and ice accumulated on rooftops may slide to hurt your dog, so keep that in mind, too.
16. Do not leave your dog alone in the car
Leaving the car running brings danger and risks for your unattended dog in the car, such as carbon monoxide poisoning. If you are going to run errands, leave your dog at home instead.
17. Respect your seniors
The cold may aggravate existing medical conditions in your dog, especially arthritis. Maintain your dog’s exercise regimen, but mind the slippery surfaces and ensure a warm place for your dog to relax after staying outdoors. If you haven’t already, start giving natural joint supplements to lubricate the joints and ease the discomfort of arthritis for your dog during winter.
18. And the last, but never the least: Winter cuddles with your canine friend are the best way to keep everybody warm!
If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your canine friend safe, happy, and healthy this winter season, contact us.