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Does your dog love resting in a sunny patch on your front porch or spend a lot a time romping in the backyard? If so, the winter season can prove to be a rude awakening for your four-legged bestie. While some dogs are covered in fur, most of them are simply unable to bear low temperatures for prolonged periods.
This winter, you need to make sure that your little pup is well-cared for and stays warm for the harsh weather conditions – whether it is for going in the backyard to play and having fun or simply for a short stroll on the road. While every dog may have different preferences and needs, these 9 tips to prep a dog for the winters will help you get started!
Your dog should spend minimum time outdoors. The more time your four-legged companion spends outside in the chilly weather, the more likely it is to get frostbite or hypothermia or ingest antifreeze. Whether yellow or white, your pup shouldn’t consume excessive amounts of snow as it may be covering hidden harmful objects that can cause an upset stomach if ingested.
Some dogs come with their own lush coats, such as malamutes and huskies. These breeds can cope with the winter chill more easily than dogs with little to no hair. If you own a whippet, Chihuahua, miniature pinscher, or greyhound, it may be best to get a warm sweater or jacket for your pup if you decide to spend outdoor time with it.
To get a sweater that fits your dog well, measure the size of your dog from across the shoulders, around the chest, and around the neck. Search for jackets or sweaters that provide a perfect snug without being too tight. Opt for one that is free of any extra accessories or irritating zippers that can easily become a choking hazard. Remember, not all dogs tolerate wearing a piece of warm clothing. If your dog refuses to wear one, simply limit outdoor time for your precious one.
A thick blanket and a soft, cozy bed can provide sufficient warmth for your pet dog during cold seasons. If your pup has its own little sleeping corner that it prefers to rest in and is particularly chilly, get a self-warming pet mat that can help retain the body heat of your dog. You can also opt for a mat that comes with a microwavable heating pad. Your top priority is to provide your dog with maximum comfort. Therefore make sure that it can easily get in and out of bed on its own.
While you may love winters and the chilly breeze that comes with it, even the furriest of animals can get cold during cold seasons. Their tail, paws, and ears are prone to frostbite. Even though exercise, playtime, and frequent walks are essential for your pup’s health, leaving it outdoors during winter for a long time is highly discouraged. Supervise your pet at all times and once you see that it is uncomfortable, get inside right away.
Since most of the dogs are not too fond of the winter season, they often seek heat by snuggling to heating sources. If you want to avoid getting your pet burned, it is best to install baseboard radiator covers instead of space heaters. Even fireplaces can be risky for your dog. Therefore, remember that a pet-proof system is crucial for keeping your heat-seeking pup out of harm’s way!
When you decide to provide your dog with an extra layer of protection in winter, make sure that the layer comes from a coat and not fat. Cold temperatures translate to lazy behavior and, therefore, require animals to consume fewer calories. Keep a check on the activity level of your dog and adjust the amount of food you provide it accordingly. Whole foods that are of high-quality can ensure sufficient energy and a healthy coat for the wintertime.
Cold and dry weather can harm your pet dog’s skin. Add a coat and skin supplement to your pup’s food to prevent flaky, dry skin. You can also use natural moisturizers such as coconut oil to keep your dog’s coat healthy. If you see that your pet’s tail, ears, or paws cracking, you can use coconut oil topically as well.
Your dog can easily dehydrate in the winter. While many pups tend to eat snow, it isn’t an adequate alternative for clean freshwater. If your dog loves spending time outdoors, even in the winter, make sure that it has access to a water bowl at all times. Moreover, check the bowl often to see if any ice has formed on top.
Dogs are sensitive to cold and are susceptible to frostbite or hypothermia during winters. However, if you, as a dog parent, are well aware of these conditions, you can easily keep your pet safe. Extended exposure to chilly weather can result in hypothermia, which is a life-threatening condition. Frostbite, on the other hand, is a tissue injury related to the temperature that often occurs on a dog’s tail, feet, scrotum, or ears.
If you see any symptoms like shivering, weak pulse, lethargy, or shallow breathing in your dog, it may be suffering from hypothermia. If the signs are more inclined towards skin discoloration, blisters, swelling, it may have frostbite. No matter the case, it would be best to take your pooch to a warm, dry place immediately and visit a vet as soon as possible.
When you adopt a dog, you decide to take on a huge responsibility. Whether it is summer or winter, you need to provide all the necessary care to your pup. Therefore, use the tips mentioned above to keep your dog warm, safe, and protected during the chilly winter weather!