Many dogs look forward to the winter, but several potential dangers should be considered. One of them is ensuring your dog is toasty and comfortable all winter. Even if they have a healthy, thick coat of fur, they can still catch a cold, have frost bites, have the flu, or have pneumonia.
Dogs are susceptible to hypothermia, a condition in which their body temperature drops dangerously low when they spend excessive amounts of time outside in cold temperatures, especially if they already have a medical problem like heart disease or diabetes. The following are some suggestions for keeping your dog warm this winter.
Can every Dog Withstand Cold Weather?
In some regions of the country, the winters can be extremely cold, and not all dogs can survive that. Below this, we have two lists, one with some common dog breeds that can endure the chill and the other with some that need extra attention in the winter. Keep a close eye on your dog over the winter, especially if temperatures drop dangerously low.
To what extent does your dog’s hair grow in a ragged fashion? Having more hair makes a dog better able to withstand cold weather since hair acts as insulation. Cold-resistant dog breeds include, among others,
- Labrador Retriever.
- Siberian Husky.
- Bernese Mountain Dog.
- Saint Bernard.
- Alaskan Malamute.
Your dog’s ability to withstand cold temperatures may be diminished if its coat is shorter or more tightly curled. Some examples of canines that fall into this category include:
- Yorkshire Terrier.
- Great Dane.
- Shih Tzu.
- Boston Terrier.
Provide a Warm and Cozy Sleeping Area
In the cold winter months, ensure your dog has a soft bed and a warm blanket to snuggle under. Suppose your dog prefers to sleep in a particularly drafty or chilly area of the house. In that case, you may want to invest in a self-warming dog mat, which retains your puppy’s body temperature, or a mat with a removable microwavable heating pad.
Keep safety in mind; your dog should be able to leave the bed independently. Talk to your vet if you’re unsure whether a heated pet bed is right for your pet.
Get Your Dog a Jacket or Sweater
Obviously, some hairier dog breeds, like huskies and malamutes, are better equipped to handle the cold than others. When going for walks in cooler weather, consider purchasing a canine jacket or sweater for your greyhound, tiny pinscher, Chihuahua, or whippet.
It’s important to accurately measure your dog’s neck, shoulder, and chest to choose the right size. Select styles that fit your child snugly but comfortably. Some canines simply won’t be comfortable in sweaters or jackets, and that’s fine. If they refuse to wear one, they should spend less time in the sun.
Provide Appropriate Shelter
Your dog should ideally spend the entire winter indoors, venturing out only for walks and toilet breaks. As a result, your dog won’t have to worry about being too cold when you’re away or fast asleep. Small dogs, such as puppies, cannot regulate their body temperature as effectively in cold weather as larger canines can.
If you have a dog that lives outside (like a sled dog), you should provide it with shelter and bedding. Fresh straws can be used as insulation to protect an outside shelter from freezing ground. However, it would be best if you varied it frequently.
It is recommended that outdoor dog shelters have a slanted roof, padding, and heating for areas with extreme cold. During wet winters, it’s important to keep water out of the shelter by covering the entrance.
Protect Your Dog’s Paws
Doggie booties can protect your pet’s paws from the cold and snow and keep him toasty warm. Putting doggie booties on your pet can prevent frostbite and other paw injuries in the snow and ice. During the winter, harmful substances such as antifreeze could be on the ground, and these boots would shield your dog from harm.
Dogs without doggie booties should have their paws wiped down after walks if they picked up any antifreeze on the ground. If you live in an area with ice or snow, inspect your dog’s paws for any wounds or scrapes that could lead to bleeding.
Meet Your Dog’s Needs
Your dog’s ability to regulate his temperature may be compromised if he is hungry or dehydrated. During the colder months, many dogs’ calorie needs rise as they expend more heat-generating energy, keeping themselves toasty. When the temperature outside drops, your dog will appreciate the extra heat your body is giving off.
Inadequate sweaters and straw roofs won’t keep them warm if they can’t make it themselves. In the absence of clean water, thirsty dogs may eat snow, which lowers the animal’s core temperature. It’s common knowledge that chowing down on the snow to keep warm is bad, but good luck explaining that to your dog. Never forget that chilly temperatures cause water to freeze. The water in your dog’s bowl may also freeze.
You may purchase a heated water bowl if your dog spends much time outside. Your dog will barely survive without water for an hour at the most. If you plan on leaving your dog outside for more than an hour, you need to find a way to keep his water fresh.
Don’t Neglect the Exercise
Pent-up energy from sitting around doing nothing might manifest destructively or anxiously. After acclimating your dog to the cold and taking other precautions, it’s fine to take it on walks and let it play outside in the winter.
Dogs need to get out and play in the snow as much as they need to run around in the sun or the leaves. Keep in mind that their emotional and physical well-being depends on them getting regular exercise, no matter the weather.
If you want to be inventive, a tiny agility course might be constructed from snow heaps. If the weather is too cold or icy to take your dog outside, you can always bring them inside and keep them occupied with a puzzle feeder, indoor diversions, or even a doggie gym.
The Final Thoughts
We have compiled some suggestions for keeping your dog warm this winter. As a dog owner, there are a few things you should know. A few topics we have discussed are those listed above: Learning to recognize when the weather is too chilly for your dog and taking precautions to keep their paws warm is important. Understanding how to keep an outside dog comfortable throughout the winter months is crucial.