Winters can be a lot of fun for pet owners and their dogs if they prepare for it. Most dogs have ample fur coats but these might not provide foolproof protection against extremely low temperatures.
How to Prepare Your Dog for Winter
The common winter issues that affect dogs include:
- Frostbite on paws.
- Injury due to icy slippery surfaces.
- Breathing difficulties for dogs with short noses.
When the temperature dips in winter don’t leave your pet dog unattended. Pet dogs often spend a lot of time indoors and are not used to extreme cold.
If the pet owner is prepared before winter comes, they will be able to keep the dogs warm and safe. Here are some easy tips that will help pet owners prepare for winter.
- Regulating Your Pet Dog’s Temperature
If you are feeling cold and uncomfortable, then your pet dog will also be feeling the same way. Specially designed pet coats are available for all sizes of dogs. This will provide them with an extra layer of warmth in winter.
Ensure that the room or the bed that your pet dog sleeps is adequately heated. If there are any damp patches on the bed, it is best to change the bedding.
- Protect Your Dog’s Paws
Extreme temperatures in winter can take a toll on your pet’s paws. Check your dog paws for cuts, cracks, and any kind of sore patches. Dry their paws completely after coming back from a walk. Avoid long walks on rough terrain and hard ground.
- Food and Supplements
Body fat is essential to keep your dog warm and protected. Increase the calories consumed by your dog as the temperature drops. The increase in calories will help make up for the lost heat.
Even though the vet might advise you to increase calories in winter, you should avoid overfeeding your dog. Keep the dog hydrated even in winter. Ensure that they have access to fresh and clean water at all times.
- Be Careful During Playtime
Take care of your pet when playing outdoors. Remember that it takes longer to warm up during winter. Exercise gently when running around or when playing catch. The cold air will take a toll on the muscles and joints of the dog.
Stay close to your pet as they walk and play on ice and snow. Lakes and ponds that are iced over may look normal but are often unable to support the weight of your dog. Keep your pet away from walking on them. This will help prevent potentially dangerous accidents.
- Grooming Your Pet’s Coat
Dogs develop heavy and thick coats to withstand the cold during winter. The thick coat is most likely to be knotted or matted and this can harbour fleas. Use a brush or comb to groom the dog at regular intervals. This will help keep their coat shining and beautiful.
If the temperature dips below normal in winter, it is best to keep your pet dog indoors. Old dogs with health issues and small puppies should not be allowed outside. Stock up on food and medication and call the vet in an emergency.