Winterize your Dog


If you are like most people who live where cold weather is commonplace, you likely have a routine you follow on an annual basis to prepare yourself for the forthcoming change of season. The list of chores you outline for yourself probably includes changing your wardrobe, digging out boots and heavy jackets, and insulating your home. However despite all the precautionary measures taken for yourself and your family, do you stop to think of how your dog will fair when the weather takes a turn for the worse? If you are wondering about how best to keep your furry friends safe and warm when harsh weather arrives, you should consider the following tips:

Dogs get cold just like people. However, unlike humans, they can’t tell you when they are uncomfortable, but will walk by your side with the same loyalty they always exhibit, regardless of how chilled they feel. For this reason, it is important for you remember that even though they have fur, their coats can only do so much to protect them from harsh temperatures.

Although some breeds like Malamutes and Huskies are better suited to cold weather, they should not be left without access to a heated area for extended periods of time. Small dogs with thin coats and little or no hair should have jackets or sweaters to protect them from the cold. The breeds that will benefit most from such attire are miniature pinchers, greyhounds, poodles and chihuahuas. In addition, all dogs should have adequate protection for their paws when walking on snow or ice. This is due to the fact that, contrary to what many individuals believe, these areas can quickly become frostbitten when exposed to extreme temperatures. Dog booties can also protect your pooch from stepping on salt and other defrosting products that may cause skin irritation. When dog booties aren’t available you can wipe your pets paws to prevent irritation. Ultimately, think of your dog as you would yourself: if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your best friend! Plan ahead, purchase good quality doggie attire, and you and your pal will both have a more enjoyable winter season.

Even dogs that stay outside year round can get cold and need to be protected from the elements in every way possible. When it’s not possible to bring them inside during very cold snaps there are still ways that they can be protected and thus prevent the dangers that can be posed by cold weather. Having a dog house or other type of suitable shelter is essential to protecting your pet from the cold but this alone is simply not enough. It is also important that such shelters be heated as well. In addition to having their sheltered area heated you can also put a blanket in this area as well which will help your dog to retain their body heat. When using dog houses you should also keep them up off the ground as well. This will keep your dog from having to lay on a floor that will absorb the cold of whatever ground it is sitting on. By following these steps you can greatly reduce the chances of your pet becoming too cold during those cold winter months. Of course it is always best to bring your pets indoors during extreme cold whenever possible.

Food and water are important to a pets health even at the best of times. This need increases during cold weather however because it uses a lot of energy for your pet to stay warm. For this reason it is vital to the well being of your dog to ensure that he has plenty of food and water at all times when outdoors especially during the cold months of winter.

It is not uncommon for dog owners to shave their pets down to little or no hair. This is a practice that should never be done during cold weather or even when sudden cold snaps are possible. A dogs’ coat plays a very important part in helping them to retain body heat. Without this protection sudden cold temperatures can pose serious life threatening danger to your pet very quickly.

Yearly winter wellness exams by your vet are also important to the health of your dog. Some medical conditions such as arthritis are made much worse by the cold. It is important to know if your pet has any such medical conditions before cold weather arrives. This will help you to take the proper precautions in order to prevent worsening of the condition.

Pets can be a wonderful blessing and a great addition to our lives but it’s up to us to see that they are well cared for. The better prepared you are to help your dog deal with the harshness of winter the better your pet will come through this cold season.

About the Author

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

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