What to Look Out For in the Winter If You Have a Dog
When snowy weather is in the forecast, you may already pull warm clothing out of storage and give your boiler a routine maintenance check. Yet in addition to insulating your home and buying a new heavy coat to brave the cold seasons, you’ll also want to prepare your furry friend for the winter. Although dogs have a higher body temperature than we do and are covered in fur, they are still susceptible to the dangers of chilly weather. The following are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure your dog stays safe and healthy throughout the winter.
Some dog breeds seem well-suited to cold weather, such as Huskies or our friends Thunder, Storm, and Freighter over at Two Brown Dogs. However, all dogs should have access to a dry, warm shelter during the winter months. Keep your dog inside if possible or provide a heated dog bed and blankets in outdoor shelters. Food and water can easily freeze if kept outside, so pick up a heated dog bowl to prevent this from happening. Also, if you are going to keep your dog outside please provide him or her with some quality shelter. According to Iowa Dog Trust, “Normally an inclosed garage or barn can be 5-15 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures as long as the doors are closed to the outside air.” That is pretty significant!
Winter Clothing for Dogs
There’s nothing like bundling up in a cozy sweater or new jacket during the winter months, and your dog appreciates this as much as you do. Particularly if you have a small or hairless breed, you’ll want to take a look at dog coats to keep your best friend safe and warm. This includes breeds like Chihuahuas and Greyhounds, for example. Not all dogs will want or need jackets, but many will enjoy the warmth and security that they provide. Additionally, dog coats and jackets can look really cool like the one Cool Blue gave Bunk the Pug!
Doggie footwear is also important when there’s ice or snow on the ground. Special booties for dogs can help protect your dog’s sensitive feet from hidden dangers underneath the snow or rough salt on the roads. They are also designed to provide traction on slippery ice. And hey, Sugar wears them, so why shouldn’t your?
Safety Tips in the Snow
Dogs love a good romp in the snow, but some care should be taken to keep them safe. If you’re taking a walk near a frozen lake or pond, don’t let your dog out on the ice unless you know it’s frozen through and safe enough for ice skating. The layer of ice may be thin and your dog could fall into the freezing water. Take it slow on ice even if your dog is wearing booties, to avoid slipping. If your dog starts to show any signs of extreme cold, it’s time to move back inside. Shaking, shivering, or lethargy are all warning signs of hypothermia. If you suspect that your dog is developing hypothermia after a prolonged period outside, contact your vet immediately.
Although eating snow may seem harmless, be aware that there could be sharp objects or chemicals hidden underneath. Antifreeze is also a hazard to be particularly mindful of in the winter, because even a small amount could be fatal. Keep antifreeze well out of reach and take your dog to a vet immediately even if only a tiny amount has been ingested.
With a bit of vigilance and preparation you can enjoy wintry fun with your dog. Stock up on cold weather accessories from top sites like Dogscorner.co.uk or your local pet store, and pay attention to your dog when you’re out on a walk to keep him safe and sound. This will help you and your dog have a blast even in a blizzard!