While a dog’s coat of fur can provide additional warmth, it isn’t enough to protect a dog from the cold. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, both serious and harmful cold weather-related conditions, and they need extra protection during the winter months.
So make sure to protect your dog from the dangers that chilly conditions can bring. We’ve got you covered with 8 top winter care tips below.
- Bundle Up
Before taking your dog outside for a walk, make sure he is properly dressed. While dogs with thick coats of fur won’t need a sweater or coat, those with thin coats of fur should wear one. Sweater or no sweater, don’t keep your dog out too long in freezing temperatures. This will avoid frostbite, which dogs can get on unprotected parts of their bodies such as ears, tails and feet.Also watch for any signs that your dog is getting cold or is uncomfortable, such as shivering or appearing anxious, and head in if he appears to have had enough of the cold.
- Venture Outside Mid-Day
The temperature is the highest during late morning and early afternoon–these are the best times to bring your dog outside to play or go for a walk. If possible, avoid being outside in the early morning and late evening, when temperatures are at their lowest.
- Comfy Bedding
If your dog normally sleeps on the floor, you’ll want to add insulation during the cold winter months. Create a snug sleeping area with cozy blankets and/or a raised bed to keep your pet warm. Make sure the bed is positioned in a warm area away from drafts, preferably in the spot where he is used to sleeping.
- Protect from Indoor Heat Sources
Since dogs tend to like to snuggle up near sources of heat, which could potentially be dangerous, don’t use space heaters and take measures to protect your pet from standing too close to fireplaces. Also, if your home has radiators, get baseboard covers.
Believe it or not, dogs can get dehydrated just as quickly in the cold weather as they can in the hot months of summer. If your dog spends a lot of time in your yard during the winter, provide access to a fresh bowl of water and monitor it regularly so you can break any ice that may form.
- Paw Care is Critical
Paw care is a must during the winter. Trim any hair that grows in between your dog’s pads to prevent ice from building up in between them. Also, rinse or wipe your dog’s paws after going for a walk since winter salt on sidewalks is toxic and can burn her pads.
- Avoid Exposure to Antifreeze
Antifreeze is highly toxic–just a small amount can be fatal. Since antifreeze tastes sweet, dogs will lick or drink it, so it’s extremely important to prevent any contact with your pet. Also, avoid bringing your pet near places where there may be antifreeze, such as garages and driveways.
- Never Leave Your Dog Unattended in the Car
This rule applies during the winter just as much as the summer. Cars can become dangerously hot in the summer, but they can also become dangerously cold in the winter. If you need to run errands, it is safest to leave your dog at home.In addition to keeping these tips in mind, the most important way you can protect your pet from the cold is to pay close attention to her behavior and follow your instincts. After all, you know your dog the best!
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