Taking Care of Your Dog During Winter Months
By Laura McElroy

Many people mistake their dog’s fur coat for adequate protection against extreme weather but that isn’t the case. It’s essential to consider your furry friend’s needs in the wintertime if they’re to make it unscathed through the season. 

Like their owners, dogs can catch a cold in winter if their warmth isn’t prioritized. Dogs can suffer from illnesses like hypothermia, frostbite and kennel cough due to the cold. Severe cases of hypothermia can be life-threatening, especially when dealing with puppies. 

Here are some tips you can use to ensure your canine friend remains adequately warm during the cold months.

Get a dog coat for walks 

As per OurFitPets.com, only certain breeds have an undercoat that’s designed against freezing conditions, so most owners will probably notice their dog shaking during winter. Dog clothes are more than just a fashion statement in wintertime. If you’re planning on taking your four-legged friend for a walk, they’ll need to be bundled up from the cold. A suitable dog coat should cover the neck and stretch to the hindquarters, as well as cover the underbelly. 

Dog coats don’t protect your furry friend’s paws, muzzle or ears so it’s wise to keep the walks short during winter. Continued exposure of your dog’s extremities to snow and wind can lead to frostbite. Avoiding snow-laden routes and vast empty spaces is also a recommendable approach for the season. 

Check for icy remnants 

Once you’re back from your walk, always check for any icy remnants that your dog might have collected along the way. Snow can collect between the toes, for example, during your time out. The snow is compacted into small balls between your pet’s toes, making them hard to dislodge without help. 

You should also check for any salt and grit that might have been collected and dry the paws thoroughly upon your return. You should also wipe down any wet areas like the top of the head and other exposed parts to prevent the cold from seeping in. 

Cozy up their bedding 

Temperatures tend to worsen during winter nights so your dog will need extra insulation to cope with the change. If your furry friend lives in a doghouse, major openings should be closed off when it retires. Incorporating a door at the entry and a light mesh on the windows is an excellent way to increase insulation. 

It’s crucial to check the doghouse for potential leaks or cracks accessible by the cold wind. If your furry friend sleeps indoors, then adding a few more blankets to their bedding will work. Raising their sleeping pad from the ground can also help in increasing their warmth. 

Watch their diet 

The coldness of the environment during winter can reduce your dog’s overall activity levels, as well as encourage them to sleep and eat more. 

It’s important to ensure that your dog doesn’t gain any unnecessary weight during the cold season. Additional layers of fat don’t have a huge significance in your furry friend’s warmth and can bring about health complications. 

It’s essential to readjust your dog’s diet to match their activity levels. If your dog seems less active, you can readjust the calories in their diet to match their new status. 

Keep your dog hydrated 

It’s important to remember that dogs can get dehydrated in the winter just as easily as they would in other seasons. Keeping a continuous supply of fresh water is crucial to the upkeep of your canine companion. 

You should preferably keep the water at room temperature in an area that’s easily accessible to your furry friend. It should also be refreshed at least twice a day. 

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