When the temperature drops and snow starts falling in, it is important that you adjust your dog's routine. You need to keep them safe throughout the winter season. Dogs love to have fun in theer and just like humans, dogs needs are different when winter comes. Keeping our dogs warm during this season is our priority.
Common Myths About Winter and Dogs
Dogs with thick coats can live outside
Sure our furry friend can withstand the winter snow as they have that thick furs to protect them from it. Sure a Siberian Husky can keep themselves warm for longer periods than a chihuahua can. But, even a dog with the thickest of coats won't be safe from hypothermia or frostbite. Especially when we leave them outdoors for a long time.
When going out in the winter snow, have them wear coats to keep them warm. Dog coats and jackets will help keep your dog warm indoors and outdoors.
Their paws can't freeze so they don't need boots
The researchers at Azabu University in Japan recently discovered that the blood vessels in the dog's paws are organized to create a "countercurrent heat exchange system". It is the same system of arrangement found in penguins, seals, and other animals that thrive in cold weather to help keep their poorly insulated body parts withstand cold and conserve body heat. Yes, it keeps their feet from quickly losing heat unlike humans but they still need protection.
Moreover, it is not the cold weather we have to worry about. Your dog's paws could get cut by the ice. Their paws can collect ice and now that could come with salts and anti-freeze. These are toxic to our pet. These can be licked by your dogs and could cause severe problems.
It is fine to leave your dog in the car because it's cold outside
Some people think that because it is cold outside, nothing can happen to your pet when you leave them in the car. The car can act as a fridge locking in the cold temperatures. If you leave your card in cold days, they can get hypothermia. Your dog will suffocate in the car and can actually freeze to death.
Dog's can't get fleas in the winter
People believe that the cold and snow can kills ticks and fleas. But these pests are smarter than we know. Fleas and ticks seek warmth and shelter in our home, thus, they can still infect pets regardless if it is summer or winter. Use pest control methods to get rid of the ticks and fleas but use a safe and natural method.
Dogs need to gain weight to give them more insulation against the cold
Gaining weight can offer only a small amount of protection against the elements. What is more evident is that it puts a lot of strain to your pet's organs particularly their joints. Gaining weight to keep them warm during this season is not advisable.
You don't need to clean up after your dog
Many assume that a dog's poo will melt away in the snow. People assume that there is no use in cleaning it up. The truth is, snow won't melt dog poo. In fact, the cold weather will slow down its biodegradation process. This means that your dog's mess will stay around until the end of winter. Your dog's mess could not be a health nuisance, but a health concern as well. The bacteria will stay in the snow until the time that it can thaw. It then spreads the infection for months that could send the disease to your dog or other dogs. Pick up after your pet even if it's winter season.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Warm During Winter
When the temperature drops, your dog doesn't have the freedom to keep them warm in the closet to wear a jacket. Abrupt changes in the weather can be big trouble to your furry friend.
Different dogs react to the cold weather in different ways. Dogs with thicker coats like German Shepherd and Siberian Husky shrug off the cold weather. But dogs with a thinner coat like a chihuahua's are likely to suffer drops of temperature. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your dogs safe from the cold weather.
Get an annual checkup
According to the American Veterinary Association, dogs are required to have an annual checkup before the winter season starts. This is due to the fact that several conditions like kidney issues, heart disease, and diabetes can make dogs less tolerant of the cold temperatures.
It also helps identify health conditions that could worsen when the cold temperature kicks in. Arthritis, for example, is the worst thing to happen to dogs in the winter.
Watch out for hypothermia
If you see that your dog is whining, shaking or weak take them indoors immediately. This is a sign that your dog is experiencing hypothermia.
Give them shelter from the cold
During the winter season, it is recommended to keep your pet indoors during the cold weather as dogs aren't made to withstand such a temperature. They need shelter to protect them.
If it's not possible to let them stay at home provide your pet with safe and comfortable sleeping options.
When providing a shelter, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure that your dog's bedding is a thick pad that contains newspaper or cheddar chips for warmth. Our car seat covers can also work as bedding for your pet. It's waterproof and is washable.
- Ensure that your dog's shelter is around three inches higher than the tallest part of your dog when it sits down.
- Make sure that the opening is off-center. This will let your dog curl around corners to avoid drafts.
- Raise the shelter above the ground to prevent moisture runoff and keep the damp from getting inside.
Adjust Your Dog's Feeding Schedule
When pets have a lot of calories in their bodies, their body warmth increases too. Feed your pet with a lot of calories. If your dog won't eat the increased amount of food, increase the number of times that you feed your dog each day.
Prevent Problems with Your Dog in the Winter
When the cold weather comes, you need to be prepared. Consider what your dog's need and make the proper arrangement so you won't come scrambling for a solution when the first winter storm arrives.