When winter season comes, the cold affects dogs just like human beings. Dogs have their fur coat that keeps warm, but it may not be enough during the cold season.
Dogs like to play in the snow, but they are not immune to the effects of cold weather.
As you buy your winter accessories, it is also important to get some things that will help keep your dog warm throughout winter. Here are some things you can do to ensure that your dog is ready for winter;
Study about your dog breed.
The only way to get your dog ready for winter in the best way is to learn about the breed. Different breeds adapt to cold differently. Study what you need to buy, and how to handle your dog during the season. This will help you have an easy time when snow shows up.
Provide a shelter for the dog.
Your dog will need a shelter to run to when the temperature falls. Actually, it is advisable to keep your dog indoors unless its answering nature calls or being taken for walks. A good dog shelter should have the following features:
- It should have a sloppy roof that does not leak.
- It should have a false floor lifted to at least 4-6inches above the ground. The gap between the ground and floor should be insulated by fresh straw for warmth.
- It should have a set of warm bedding above the false floor. This bedding should be warm enough for human use.
- The shelter should be protected from the wind.
Provide enough food.
During the cold season, provide more food for your dog so that it doesn’t get malnourished. Ensure that your dog takes in enough protein for fur growth.
Since water may freeze when kept in an ordinary bowl, provide your dog with a heated one to prevent dehydration. For indoor dogs, avoid overfeeding them because it may cause obesity. Outdoor dogs that are active during winter should, however, be fed more. This is because they burn a lot of calories and they need the energy to keep warm as well. If you are not sure how much to feed your dog during winter, consult the vet.
Spend less time outside.
You cannot avoid taking your dog outside to walk and play even during winter. However, ensure that you do not take your dog for the same long walks you do when its warm. Spending a lot of time on walks can cause your dog to feel very cold. Alternatively, you can play with your dog outdoors as a way of exercising.
Watch out for frostbite.
Frostbites are very common for short hair dogs. It occurs at the tip of the tail and ear tips. Wrap the affected parts in a warm blanket and take it to the vet.
Keep your antifreeze away.
It is very easy for a dog to lick some anti-freeze from your garage, sidewalks and driveways. In as much as oil keeps the car going, it can easily kill your dog. Even if the dog does not lick it, it may lick its paws after the walk. Antifreeze is a common dog killer, and dog owners should always watch out for it.
Avoid leaving your dog in the car.
Leaving your dog in the car is dangerous in winter just like in summer. Your dog may get carbon monoxide poisoning if you leave the engine on. When the engine is off, temperatures will also drop, and your dog will freeze in the car.
Buy coats, boots, and sweaters.
For dog breeds that are highly affected by cold or are small in size, it is good to buy these. Coats and sweaters provide additional warmth to keep your dog comfortable. Take measurements or take the dog to the store and try the clothes on. These accessories should not affect the dog’s mobility and should be easy to put on and remove.
Boots are important to prevent paw injury from salt and ice. Cold ice and salt can damage a dog’s paw pads as well. Walking on boots helps a dog have grip and prevents sliding which may injure the dog.
Prevent dry, flaky skin.
Due to the cold, dry air outside, your dog’s skin is going to be dry and itchy. This affects dog owners as well. Ensure that you bathe your dog using shampoos and conditioners with oatmeal. Buying a humidifier also helps in keeping the air in your home moist.
Handle the existing ailments.
If your dog is unwell, you may need to be more careful during winter. Illnesses such as arthritis can exacerbate during winter. It is important to talk to your veterinarian about the measures to take. This will include medicine to buy or ways of ensuring that your dog keeps fit.