HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR DOG OVER THE WINTER

Updated on April 16, 2023

Is your dog the type who gets the wiggles at the mere mention of snow? Do you have a dog who is a complete couch potato and would prefer spend the winter months indoors? Regardless of which description best fits your dog, you’ll need to take some precautions while taking him or her out into the cold.

We’ve put together this guide to help you take care of your dog over the winter, with advice on how to prevent common health problems and how to keep your pooch warm and comfortable.

WINTER HEALTH RISKS

When the temperature drops, the majority of us notice a decline in our health in the form of runny noses, tickly coughs, and pounding heads.

Preparing your dog for the cold season

Keeping your dog warm this season
Humans and dogs alike face serious health hazards in the sub-zero weather, including frostbite and hypothermia, so a cold isn’t the worst thing that may happen.

FROSTBITE

Dogs have built-in defences against the extreme cold that kick in automatically to keep the dog alive and well.

To keep warm, the body naturally draws blood to its centre, leaving extremities like the ears, paws, and tail cold and unprotected. If you’ve ever been out in the cold, you know that your ears and fingers get the coldest first.

As a result, frostbite sets in because the affected areas never get enough warm blood to prevent the tissue from freezing solid. It’s important to keep an eye out for the symptoms of frostbite because they may not appear until several days after the initial exposure. Keep an eye out for these signs:

Skin that is discoloured and white and may turn grey or black
Place is icy and hard to the touch.
delicate in the sense of touch
The afflicted area swells up
Painful blisters form on frostbitten skin when it warms back up, and if medical help isn’t sought right away, irreparable tissue damage could result.

HYPOTHERMIA

Another serious problem to watch out for during the winter months is hypothermia, which can occur if your dog spends too much time in the cold, such as after being wet in snow or water. It’s crucial to take extra precautions with dogs that have health or circulation difficulties while venturing out into the cold.

Your dog’s ears and feet may be extremely chilly, but hopefully the hypothermia will not develop any further than that. But if the disease continues to worsen, your dog will become listless, listless, and frail. Their body will become rigid, and their heart and respiration rates will decrease dramatically. Hypothermia is potentially fatal if not treated.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DOG IS TOO COLD?

Basically, if you feel the need to bundle up, your dog will feel the same way. Most dogs (with the possible exception of the most spoiled slobs) are tough and don’t like to complain about uncomfortable situations, such as being too cold. They’d rather be playing in the snow than coming home, so they’ll pretend they’re not shivering so they can keep having fun.

Shivering, whining, worried behaviour, and your dog even looking for burrows are all symptoms to keep an eye out for. Your dog’s exposed paws will feel the cold first, so keep an eye out if they start walking funny or licking their paws.

HOW DO I LOOK AFTER MY DOG IN THE WINTER?

WRAP UP WARM FOR WALKIES

Wrapping up in a scarf, hat, gloves, and boots will help keep you and your dog warm should you decide to brave the weather together. You mentioned your dog, but what about him/her?

Many owners of canine companions mistakenly believe that their pet needs no special protection from the cold because of the dog’s thick fur coat. However, this is not the case, as most dogs would benefit from wearing extra clothing during cold weather. A warm coat would make even the happiest of dogs, like Labradors and Huskies, much more comfortable in the cold.

How to keep your dog toasty during winter

How to keep your dog toasty during winter
If your dog is a slug and would rather sleep in front of the fireplace than brave the arctic chill, you should still get them a dog coat because they will still need to go for walks. Thin-coated canines like Whippets and Staffies benefit from this even more. Get some treats available in case it takes a few days for your dog to adjust to wearing their new jacket.

Small booties are available so that your dog’s paw pads won’t get cold in the snow. This is not only practical in that it will keep your dog warm, but also adorable in its own right.

CHECK FOR SNOW BETWEEN THEIR TOES

After a stroll in the snow, it’s important to give Fido’s paws a good wipe down to remove any grit or snow that might have been tracked in from the outdoors and to make sure there’s nothing stuck in the cracks between his toes.

Long-haired dog breeds especially need to pay attention to this. They are considerably more likely to acquire snow packed between their toes, where it can harden into miniature ice balls and cause excruciating discomfort because of their long hair. Meanwhile, the grit and salt used to melt the roadways might become embedded and become an irritant.

You should clean your dog’s feet thoroughly after every stroll. Here’s where a pair of dog booties might come in help; once they’re off, cleaning between the toes is a breeze.

KEEP THEM WARM AND DRY

We know that after your winter stroll you will want nothing more than to make a hot drink, put on some warm clothes, and curl up under a blanket. Treat your dog the same way! Prepare a soft dog bed (or your own bed, if that’s what your dog prefers) for a long nap.

Maintaining the canine’s thermal and hydrologic balance over the winter

Dog winter gear: keeping warm and dry
Be cautious if your dog has a tendency to seek warmth by the radiator or the fire. Most canines prefer to rest in the hottest part of the house, so you may have trouble convincing them to relocate.

NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A CAR

Never leave your dog in the car, period. A cold car can be just as hazardous as a hot one, and in some cases perhaps more so.

You shouldn’t endanger your dog’s safety by taking it with you even if you’re simply running errands on the way home or stopping by a friend’s house.

KEEP THEM ENTERTAINED

Everybody knows a dog that lives in a mansion and is too spoiled to go outside when it’s freezing, which may be a major issue when nature calls and you have to take your dog to the bathroom. Still, your dog needs regular exercise, so take them out for a stroll in the late morning or early afternoon when the sun is higher in the sky and the air is warmer.

On the other hand, you may provide them with more indoor activities to keep them from getting bored. When the temperature outside drops, it can be challenging to find methods to keep your dog entertained indoors. Brain games, extra training sessions, games of hide-and-seek, and even indoor fetch are all terrific options.

MAKE THEM VISIBLE

If you haven’t already, listen for the phrase “it gets dark so early these days!” more often. In that case, you need make sure your dog is easy to spot in the pitch black of these winter nights. You should ideally take them for walks when it’s still light outside, but we understand that this isn’t always possible due to work and other responsibilities.

A guide to keeping your dog warm and safe this winter

How to keep your dog warm and safe this winter
If your off-leash dog loves to tear through the underbrush for what seems like miles, equip him with a collar-mounted light so you can keep track of him. A high visibility jacket, which may also serve as a warm garment, is available for your dog.

You can see what your dog is after and you won’t lose as many balls to the grass if you play fetch using glow-in-the-dark or flashing balls.

Stay in well-lit places and think about donning a head light to help others see you.

STAY AWAY FROM FROZEN LAKES AND RIVERS

If you have a dog who enjoys getting into trouble, you might find that every time you take it for a walk, it ends up in some filthy body of water, requiring you to give it a full bath when you get home.

Making sure pets don’t freeze to death this winter

Canine winter safety
If your canine companion is a swimmer, though, you shouldn’t allow them risk injury by diving headfirst into cold water. Keep your dog on a leash while they’re near water to prevent them from jumping in.

KEEP ANTI-FREEZE OUT OF REACH

When antifreeze is spilled, dogs may be tempted to lick it up because of its sweet taste and pleasant aroma.

Dogs are extremely sensitive to its toxicity. If you use anti-freeze, make sure to keep your dog away from it and clean up any spills right away.

SENIOR SPECIAL CARE

Our ageing dogs require more care and attention, which we are happy to provide. The chilly weather, though, makes it all the more important that you tend to their needs.

A winter rescue for older dogs

Winter assistance for senior dogs
As arthritis and other illnesses commonly experienced by the elderly become more severe in the cold, it is important to take extra precautions to avoid injury during exercise and to avoid slipping and falling on slick surfaces.

As the weather becomes colder, your dog is more likely to catch a cold, just like humans.

Maintaining a regular exercise regimen is essential to keeping your senior dog as fit and healthy as possible, but it may be difficult to coax them outside for walkies in the cool weather (unless you have an older dog who still acts like a puppy).

Keep your dog warm and cosy after a brisk walk by providing a warm, comfy spot for it to rest.

Contrarily, just as senior dogs are more vulnerable to the cold than adult dogs, so too are pups. Keep your dog’s walks cool and calm (excuse the pun) during the winter, and provide plenty of indoor mental stimulation to keep them occupied.

RECAP

Winter is no different from any other season in that it has its own unique set of challenges. You and Fido can still enjoy the winter wonderland with just a few extra precautions. Make sure you and your pet have somewhere toasty to go when you’re done walking in the cold!

 

 

 

 

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