Whether your four-legged friend loves to run out in the snow or cuddle up beneath a cozy blanket, you should be adequately prepared to keep your dog safe and comfortable during this time of the year.
While we are all aware that dogs have fur to protect them, we have this gripping fallacy to handle the cold weather better than us humans since their bodies are coated with fur.
Well, adopting that line of thinking is just wrong.
It could make them uncomfortable, or worse yet, your dog could become sick.
This is why it’s essential to take into heart some tips on how you can keep your dog warm, safe, and comfortable—even at the harshest part of the winter season.
Keep in mind that winter is also the time of the year where your pets just need extra care.
With that said, here are some winter hacks to keep your dog comfy during winter.
These tips will help you safeguard your dog and ensure that they can adapt to the cold weather.
What Health Risks Is Your Dog Facing During Wintertime?
Before anything, please understand that winter or the cold weather season brings with it some health hazards for your dog.
Hypothermia and frostbite are just two of the most significant dangers that we should concern ourselves with.
Does your dog love to spend a lot of time outdoors during the cold weather?
If the answer is yes, then you need to be wary about him or her getting hypothermia.
This happens when a dog spends quite a long period hanging out and running around in the snow.
In mild hypothermia cases, a dog’s feet and ears may become cold, and then the dog starts to quiver.
As this condition advances, a dog starts showing indications of weakness, lethargy, and depression.
At the advanced stages, the dog’s muscles will become stiff, and both breathing and heart rates will decline relatively.
Later on, the dog will stop reacting to stimuli.
Please understand a severe case of hypothermia is truly a situation that could threaten your dog’s life.
This condition starts when your dog’s body becomes cold.
Automatically, to keep the body warm, your dog draws warmth from other parts towards the center of the body.
When this happens, your dog’s tail, paws, or ears could get extremely cold, that ice crystals form on the skin and may cause damage.
You have to be extremely wary about this because of the fact that your dog could already be having frostbite even without you being aware of it.
That’s right, most of the time, it doesn’t show immediately.
You need to be on the lookout for signs such as grey or pale skin.
Also, your dog’s coat may turn cold and stiff.
Also, remember that it could be exceedingly painful for your dog as the area of his or her skin that had frostbite on it starts to warm up.
Worst of all, when the frostbite gets so severe, the skin area turns black and falls off.
Keeping your dog safe from these grave health hazards is critical indeed.
You have to notice the signals that your buddy is getting too cold, and it’s time to run back indoors to get warm.
How Do You Know If It’s Getting Too Cold for Your Dog?
Here’s a simple indication: if it gets too cold for you to stand outdoors without wearing a coat, your dog most probably feels the same.
When this happens, it’s time to be more mindful and check out your dog’s condition.
When you observe that your dog is starting to quiver, whine, tries to look for places to dig up and burrow, or stops playing altogether, these are signs that you need to head back inside.
Be Readily Prepared for Possibilities of a Blizzard
During the winter, some areas in the United States are just more prone to blizzards than others.
This is why it’s very critical to be ready and know what to do in case of a snowstorm.
You have to have a checklist to ensure that everything is in place.
Some of the things you need to prepare are flashlights with extra batteries and cozy blankets to warm yourself and your dog.
Additionally, ensure that you have enough food, a supply of clean water, some tools for removing snow after the blizzard, as well, as your medicine or emergency kit.
How to Take Care of Their Paws During Winter?
The dog’s paws or pads are vulnerable.
That’s why we should give it an ample amount of attention.
This is because their paws are what they use when they walk or run, indoors or outdoors.
Unlike the rest of your dog’s body, the paws are not covered with fur.
That’s right, your dog’s paws can sustain tears and blisters.
You have to remember that foot care is also equally important for our dogs as it is for us humans.
The cold weather can cause your dog’s paws to have cracks.
If you have a furry buddy, the ice can build up in between their paws and maintain a cold temperature, leading to damage.
So, how do you avoid this situation?
Make sure that you check out the fur in between their paws and give it a trim.
Also, make sure that you regularly wipe your dog’s paws.
You can also consider making them wear booties for extra protection.
There are dog booties available in the market that are specially made for your pet.
These can be of great help if your buddy just loves going outdoors.
An important thing to remember is to make sure that your dog doesn’t lick his or her paws after heading back.
You have to thoroughly wipe off their paws.
Check for any kind of substance that can get under and in between their pads, such as salt and antifreeze.
These elements can make your dog sick.
Much older dogs are more sensitive and vulnerable during the cold season.
This is because it can become so freezing that it heightens up their arthritis pains.
Senior dogs should have extra care and protection whenever possible.
You have to be mindful and extra careful about surfaces that may be too slippery for your dog, as it may cause unnecessary accidents.
Do You Have to Stick to Your Regular Bathing Schedule During Wintertime?
The short answer for this is no.
Giving your four-legged best friend frequent baths during the winter can dry up their skin.
As we all know, dry skin leads to discomfort for our dogs.
This is the reason that vets prescribe that you increase the bathing gaps between December up until March.
This ensures that you maintain the moisture on your dog’s skin.
To keep their paws and coat healthy, give them food that contains fish and coconut oils.
In case you notice that your dog’s tail, paws, or ears are starting to have tears or cracked skin, apply some oil immediately to moisturize the area.
Dog-Proof Your Heating Sources
Room heaters and fireplaces are a must during wintertime.
However, these heat sources might prove hazardous to your dogs.
While your dog may feel cold, it is essential to keep them away from heat sources as they might get some burns.
Ensure that you dog-proof your fireplaces so that your buddy won’t be able to get too near.
Radiator and baseboard covers can also be of great help.
Do You Have to Feed Them More During Winter?
The basic rule of thumb is that if your dog spends a lot of time outside during winter, that’s the only time when they’ll require more calories.
You don’t have to overfeed them.
Additionally, instead of just stuffing your dog with food available in your cupboard, choose to give them whole Foods.
Foods such as raw meat will not only provide your pet with much-needed energy, but it also will keep their coat healthy.
Keep track of your activities and change your dog’s diet accordingly.
Keep the tips above in mind.
These tips will ensure that you’re not only keeping your furry best friend warm, comfy, and healthy but also giving them the best winter experience.