Humans can sometimes find it a bit tough in winter and it is also the same for dogs. They will feel the cold in the same way as humans and they will also be more susceptible to slips and falls. There are some precautions that you can take to ensure that your dog stays safe and well during the winter. Below you will find ten top tips for looking after your dog in cold weather.
1. Don’t Cut Back On Walks Too Much
Even though you may be worried about your dog being too cold when they are going for a walk, they still need some degree of exercise. Dogs Naturally suggest that the best time to take your dog for a walk is during the day when the sun is out and the temperature is a little warmer. You may need to make your walks a little shorter but there is no need to stop them altogether.
2. Use A Coat When Your Dog Does Go Outside
When you do take your dog for a walk, make sure that they are wrapped up warm. They will need something to keep them warm in the cold weather in the same way as we do. This is especially important if your dog has short hair, as longer hair will keep dogs a little bit warmer in the cold weather. You may want to consider buying a coat for your dog that they can wear while they are outdoors.
3. Make Sure They Have Warm Bedding
Some dogs like to sleep directly on the floor, but this is not really a good idea in the winter. Sleeping on a cold floor can reduce the body temperature of your dog and this can be fairly dangerous because the fact they are asleep means they may not be aware of how cold they are getting. Therefore it can be a good idea to put a blanket down on the floor where they usually sleep.
4. Don’t Let Them Get Too Close To Heaters
If you have heaters in your home, then you should make sure that there is some sort of guard around them so that your dog cannot get too close. Your dog will try and get as close to the source of heat as possible, and this can lead to them burning themselves. If you have an open fire then this will also need to have a guard around it. You should also never leave your dog unattended in a room that has an open fire, even when there is a guard around it.
5. Remember They Do Not Need A Lot Of Extra Food
There is no need to give your dog much more food than usual during the winter. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, then you may want to think about giving them a little extra food. This will provide them with more energy that can help to keep them warmer when they are outside. Purina suggests checking with your vet before increasing the amount of food that you give your dog to ensure that they stay healthy.
6. Keep An Eye On Their Hydration Levels
You may not think that your dog needs as much to drink in the winter compared with the summer but this is not the case. They should have access to a water bowl at all times. If any water is kept outside, then it should be checked frequently to make sure that it does not freeze. Signs of dehydration in your dog to look out for include loss of appetite, excessive panting and a dry nose. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from dehydration, then you should try and get them to have something to drink and take them to the vet as soon as possible.
7. Don’t Leave Your Dog Inside A Locked Car
Just as the temperature can rise rapidly in a car in the summer, it can drop dramatically during the winter. It is possible for the temperature to drop below freezing in a really short space of time. Therefore, it is dangerous for dogs to be kept in your car unattended as they may develop hypothermia. Family Pet also reports that it is possible for your dog to freeze to death in these conditions.
8. Make Sure The Microchip Information Is Up To Date
It is easier for dogs to become lost in the winter because the ice and snow can distort their sense of smell. If they become separated from you, then they may find it difficult to track your scent and find their way home. If they are found by the police or an animal shelter then they can scan for a microchip and so it is important that this information is up to date so that you can be contacted.
9. Continue To Check For Fleas
Fleas are another problem that people associate with summer but that can occur all year round. As animals spend more time indoors in winter, then if you have more than one pet you may find that a case of fleas can spread around all your pets quite quickly. You should check for the signs of fleas on your dog on a regular basis and then treat if necessary. There is a risk that fleas could lead to tapeworm in your dog and so treatment needs to begin as soon as possible.
10. Check Your Dogs Feet On A Regular Basis
Walking on ice and cold pavements can make your dogs feet more sensitive than normal. There may be also be more chance of them cutting their feet on things that can’t be seen under the snow. You should check their feet after every walk to make sure that there are no cracks or sores on their paw pads and that they have not been injured. You may also want to think about applying some moisturizer to the pads to ensure that they do not become too dry, although you should not do this if the paw has been cut.