Winter is a difficult time for many people, including those with four-legged companions. Cold weather puts your dog at risk for frostbite, hypothermia, and all sorts of other dangers. But there are plenty of ways to ensure they stay warm and healthy when the temperature drops. Let’s explore!
Know Your Dog’s Limits
Some breeds like huskies or chow chows don’t do well in very cold weather, while others like golden retrievers tend to be more hearty when it comes to winter weather. Make sure you know what kind of breed you’re bringing home, and if you’re not sure, find a shelter that can give you a more accurate idea. Also, try to know how much exercise your dog gets during the summer compared to winter. If you have a very active dog, they might need extra insulation from the freezing temperatures if they aren’t going to be exercising as much in the winter.
Related read: Things to Do with Your Dog in the Winter
Get a Coat
Make sure your pup has a warm coat for those bitter days of winter. You can get a specially designed one from your local pet store or just have an old coat cut and sewn to fit your dog’s size. Greyhounds especially need a good winter coat because they have thin coats that are not very insulating.
Give Them a Nice Sweater
Dogs can also benefit from sweaters when it comes to cold weather, whether it’s to keep them warm or just look cute! Sweaters also help protect your pup from the chemicals in ice melt, especially if you walk them on city streets.
Buy Booties for Their Paws
You don’t want to take any chances with a frozen dog’s paws. Booties aren’t expensive (about $10 USD per pair) and they protect against more than just the cold weather. Dogs who live in snowy climates or extreme temperatures also need booties to protect their paw pads from chemicals, salt, or anything else that might be on the ground.
Keep Them Indoors
If you have a yard, keep your pup inside as much as possible during colder temperatures. That way if something happens and they get too cold or aren’t able to get in the house, you have a place for them to go right away.
You may also like: Winter Skin Care Tips for Your Dog
Let Them in Bed with You
Since it’s just going to be the two of you for most of the winter, let your dog sleep in bed with you so they won’t be lonely! They’ll appreciate the extra warmth (especially if your heater is broken) surrounded by warm blankets. You’ll also feel better knowing they’re close by.
You may also let them have their own bed: Best Elevated Beds for Your Dogs – Top Reviews
Set Out Water
Make sure your dog has easy access to fresh water all day long. If the pipes freeze, they’re going to need a way to stay hydrated even if they can’t get outside. Also, always check their bowls and make sure to prevent ice buildup.
Offer a Nice Warm Snack
You also might want to consider setting out a warm water bottle or microwavable heating pad for your dog if they’re really chilly. If you do, just make sure they don’t try to eat it!
Try making: A Healthy Dog Biscuit Recipe
Enlist Some Help
If you can afford to bring in dog walkers or hire someone to shovel your walk, do it! There’s nothing worse than trying to get out of the house with a heavy layer of snow on the ground. Even if you don’t have money for help, ask some friends or family members if they can stop by and help.
Make Sure They Always Know Where the Nearest Warm Place Is
If you have a very hard time getting your dog to come into the house, make sure they always know where their nearest warm place is. It might be a little bit of a struggle at first, but once they learn there’s no point being outside if the only place that feels good is inside, they won’t mind coming home so bad.
Watch out for Icy Steps, Roads, and Pavements
An older dog can fall when jumping onto slippery surfaces or in some cases, frozen ponds. For instance, stairs or jumping out of vehicles can cause minor injury.
Keep Your Short-Haired Dog Warm
Short-haired breeds need winter coats, especially when going on winter walks. Since they are not genetically suited to extremely cold weather, you need to prepare a proper winter coat so they could withstand the harsh winter months.
Make Sure Your Dog is Microchipped
In case there is a problem with the shelter, make sure your dog has a microchip. The chip can be put into other animals that are lost so they can find their way back to their owner. This might not always save them from hypothermia if they’re really stuck outside for a long time, but it’ll at least give you some kind of chance. Many dogs also tend to get lost in snowy conditions and become disoriented. Make sure your dog’s tag details and microchip have been updated.
Make Sure They Can Find Their Food
If your dog is eating food that has to be kept cold, make sure they have easy access to their own supply especially during extreme temperatures. You want them to have no food just because you didn’t think ahead!
Try giving your pooch: A Guide to the Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food in 2021
Check on Them Often
In case your dog is not doing well during cold days or you haven’t been able to get outside to check on them, have a friend stop by and check on them. If your dog hasn’t been eating their food or they seem a little off, make a vet appointment right away.
Make Sure They Have a Safe Place to Go
If you need to leave your dog at home by themselves, make sure they know where the warmest spot in the house is and that there’s a way for them to get inside. The best thing would be if someone you trust could check on your pup every now and then or come over especially if you’re going to be gone for a long time.
Make your place safer for dogs: 15 Best Gates for Your Dog – A 2021 Guide
Take Them Out When it’s Safe
Once you know it’s safe outside, take your dog out so they can get some fresh air without worrying about the cold or ice. Don’t let them stay outside too long, but if they need to go, let them do their business and get back inside as soon as possible. Make sure to reward your dog warm and a nice treat and some extra love!
Wash and Dry Your Pet’s Feet After Walks
Salt and chemicals used in grinding pavement may harm a dog’s paws. Always wipe off dog paws with a clean cloth and hot water when left. If there is some small cracks or redness on the toes it would.
Don’t Let Your Pet Fall Victim to Antifreeze
The sprayed antifreeze can pose a serious health hazard when the vehicle shatters during cold snaps particularly if it is injected into the air. Remove ice from vehicles by hand and wash out spills easily. Even tiny doses can be deadly, therefore keep antifreeze bottles labelled and put in safe storage.
If it’s too Cold for You it’s too Cold for You
Call your vet immediately to report any sign of hypothermia/ frostbite. Remember, too, that the temperature outside can also drop. Tell your friends that you try to keep your temperatures low if possible. This way it won’t be too cold during this time.
Give Them Lots of Praise
If you managed to get through winter and extreme temperatures without having any serious health problems, make sure your dog knows that you’re proud of them. They had to deal with some not-so-fun things this winter, so make sure they know that it’s not their fault and how good of a job they did.
The winter can be a difficult time for both you and your dog. To alleviate the difficulties of both pet owners and their four-legged companions during this cold season, make sure to give them lots of love and care by following these tips! It’ll help keep them healthy (and happy!) throughout the year.