How to Prepare Your Puppy for Winter’s Cold

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For many people winter is a time of bitter cold that makes it necessary to wear multiple layers of clothing and often leads to many different illnesses ranging from minor cases of the common cold and flu to more extreme illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This often makes this time of year miserable for us as humans. If you think that is bad just think of how your poor dog or puppy must feel when the temperature starts dropping.

Unlike people dogs can’t put a coat on or tell you when they are cold. For this reason it becomes our duty as pet owners and human parents of our dogs to do all that we can to ensure that our beloved pooches stay warm in order to prevent illnesses and other problems that arise from cold weather.

Shelter

One of the most important thing that you can do as a dog owner is to ensure that your dog has adequate shelter to protect them from dropping temperatures as much as possible. There are many ways to achieve this goal including bringing them inside or providing some other type of shelter such as a garage, carport or dog house. If your dog is one that is used to being primarily outside it may not be feasible to simply bring him indoors as he may not make this transition easily. In such cases preparing a space for him in the garage or even a carport may be sufficient. If neither of these choices is an option then a dog house may be the best alternative. Regardless of which of these options that you choose it is important to make their space as warm as possible. This can be accomplished with blankets or sleeping bags.

It is also important to ensure that whatever you choose is checked daily to ensure that it is dry. Remember that when your dog becomes wet he loses his ability to retain heat. If your dog is used to being kept indoors then this is a time you should definitely keep him inside as much as possible.

Provisions

When you check your dogs bedding daily to ensure that it is dry it is also important to keep plenty of food and water to keep your dog properly hydrated and prevents them from getting too weak. This will help your dog to withstand the cooler temperatures better.

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Potty Time

While keeping with a schedule is an important part of potty training your dog there are times when it just isn’t possible to take them outside to do their business. There are other options available to let your pet know there are still specific places for them to go even when they can’t get outside. One such alternative is the use of potty pads. These pads are available in a variety of sizes and give your dog an acceptable place to relieve themselves even when it is too cold for them to go outside. Such potty pads are especially beneficial for toy breeds that don’t tolerate extremely low temperatures very well. Some variations of these pads are even specially scented to further aid in the potty training process.

Sweaters and Booties

Even under the best of circumstances and with the highest level of care possible there will still undoubtedly be times when your dog may be outside when it is cold. In cases like this there are other precautions that can be taken such as the use of sweaters and booties. Not only will such things help your dog to stay warm but many doggie sweaters are quite stylish as well. In addition to this the doggie booties will help to reduce messes on the inside especially in conditions that are wet or muddy.

In the event that your dog is subjected to cold temperatures, it is extremely important to watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Some common signs of hypothermia include difficulty breathing, weak pulse, stiffness of the muscles, lack of appetite, lethargy and extreme shivering. The presence of any of these symptoms should be treated as an emergency and should receive immediate attention. In addition to the symptoms of hypothermia you should also be aware of the symptoms that may indicate frostbite as well. These symptoms include skin that is pale or grey looking but turns red or puffy looking, skin that is shriveled or stays cold and pain in areas such as the ears, tail or paws when they are touched. If your dog displays any of these signs or symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite it should be treated as an emergency. Take the necessary steps to warm them and call a vet immediately. Either of these conditions can become very critical very fast and can be potentially life threatening to your dog. Remember that your dog looks to you to keep them safe and that includes keeping them as warm as possible when temperatures drop.

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Based in Toronto Canada, Animal Rights Advocate and Relentless Volunteer!

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