Did you know that even dogs with thick fur can be susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia?
They sure are, but you can take steps to help keep them warm!
Check out our tips below for keeping your dog warm on a cold winter day!
Limit Outdoor Time
Obviously your furry friend has to go outside some to do their business and while out there they may even want to sniff and play. However, don’t let them linger for too long!
Their ears, paws and nose are all completely exposed to the cold and can become too cold too fast, leading to complications for your pup.
Don’t leave your canine buddy outside unattended. It doesn’t take long for cold to become frigid! This includes in the car.
Dress for Warmth
Puppies and seniors, small dogs and those with thin coats are all more susceptible to freezing temperatures. Many people make fun of dressing up furry friends, but this is one time for sure that it is good for them!
Warm sweaters and coats are very helpful for keeping your dog warm, especially if they fall into the group above.
Make Small Food Changes
Increasing the fat and protein in your dog’s diet helps to maintain a healthy coat, meaning it will help it to be as thick as it can. Of course, different breeds have thicker coats than others, but a healthy coat is good for all dogs.
Clean their Paws
First, keep the fur between your dog’s toe pads trimmed during the winter. Ice and snow can freeze to the fur and become extremely uncomfortable.
It can cause their paw pads to become cracked, bleeding and very painful.
Also, always wipe your dog’s paws off with a towel when they come in. The ice and snow can contain poisons from antifreeze and deicer that is harmful to your pup.
This is another reason to trim that fur on their paws. It makes it easier to get the snow and ice off of them.
Other Helpful Cold Weather Tips
Don’t leave space heaters, electric blankets or anything like that unattended. Besides the usual fire risk warning, your dog doesn’t understand what these things are and can easily burn himself.
Be cautious when using antifreeze or deicer in the garage. Dogs often like to follow their owners out to the garage, but spilled chemicals are poisonous to your dog.
Keep an eye on the outside temperature, including the wind chill, and factor in ice and snow. If it is 20 degrees or below, try not to take your dog out at all. If you do have to take him outside, stay with him and bring him back inside as soon as his bathroom time is over.
Signs of Hypothermia or Frostbite
It’s very important that you know what signs to look for that could indicate your dog is suffering from hypothermia or frostbite.
- Whining more than normal
- Constant shivering
- Seems to be weak
- Slows down considerably or stops moving altogether
- Tries to burrow while outdoors
- Acts abnormally anxious
At times you may not be able to avoid leaving your dog outside for longer periods of time. If you absolutely have no choice there are some things you can do to help your dog stay warmer.
Your dog needs to have a roomy shelter, or doghouse, that stays dry inside. It should be several inches off of the ground to help keep the ground temperature from permeating the shelter.
Straw or cedar shavings should be sprinkled on the floor of your dogs shelter to help insulate.
Hang a heavy plastic or canvas cover over the doorway to keep out as much rain, wind and show as possible.
Make sure your dog has plenty of food in his shelter and check his water often to ensure it doesn’t freeze over.
Even though most dogs have a natural winter coat, there are many that are unable to stay warm enough when the temperatures drop, especially below freezing. Add rain, snow, ice and wind, and your dog could get very sick. But, now you know how to keep your dog warm on a cold winter day so you can enjoy many more snuggles on the couch!