Prepare Your Dog for Winter

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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’s what you need to know to keep your dog warm, snug and safe.

Check for Snow Between Their Toes: Check your dog’s paws and dry them thoroughly after they’ve been outside. This is especially important with long-haired dogs as they are prone to snow compacting between their toes and turning into ice balls which can prove very painful. If they are agreeable, you could trim the long hair between your dog’s toes to help prevent this.

Get Your Dog a Jacket or Sweater: Obviously some breeds with lush coats, such as huskies and malamutes, can cope with cold weather more easily than breeds with little or no hair. For breeds such as greyhounds, miniature pinschers, chihuahuas and whippets, get your pooch a doggie jacket or sweater to wear when you’re outdoors together.To ensure a proper fit, measure your dog’s size around the neck, across the shoulders and around the chest. Look for designs that provide a snug but not too tight fit, and one that’s free of irritating zippers or embellishments that could be a choking hazard.Not all dogs will tolerate wearing a sweater or jacket and that’s OK. If they don’t want to wear one, simply limit the time they spend outside.

Regulate 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.

Visit Your Vet: It’s not a bad idea to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup with the vet right before cold weather hits, especially if they have chronic health issues. Diabetes, heart disease and arthritis are all examples of health conditions that can make the winter weather harder on your pet. Diabetes and heart disease can make it difficult for your pet to self-regulate their temperature. Cold weather can make arthritis more painful and joints stiffer, causing your dog to have more trouble moving in the snow and ice.

Keep Chemicals Away: Your car’s antifreeze tastes sweet to pets, but it can be deadly if they swallow it. So clean up any spills right away and keep containers of the chemical out of pets’ reach. Ice melt and salt can dry out the pads on your dog’s paws, which makes them more likely to get cracked and irritated. Wipe their paws clean after every walk.

Provide Adequate Shelter: In very cold weather you should supervise your dog when it’s outside. If it spends too much time romping around a cold garden, the ears, tail and paws are susceptible to frostbite.Ensure that your dog’s outdoor kennel or shelter is dry and draught-free. Ideally, the shelter should be 10 cm off the ground, with a sloped roof. Lay down straw for additional insulation.

Be Careful During Playtime: Keep your dog away from stretches of frozen water as it’s impossible to tell how secure the surface is. Keep them on a lead if you think they’ll be tempted to jump in.

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.

Keep Giving Flea Meds: Flea meds are expensive, and it’s tempting to discontinue them during the cold winter months when fleas lie dormant. But that can leave your pet vulnerable to fleas and the parasites they carry when the weather warms back up again. Plus, if you don’t restart meds soon enough, you could quickly find your house overrun with fleas and have to bomb. It’s easier and safer, all around, to keep treating your pets for fleas through the winter, so they stay protected.Preparing your pets for the winter months ensures that they’ll be protected from frostbite, rock salt burns, hypothermia, and winter weather emergencies. Get ready now to keep them happy and healthy all season long.

Make Them Visible: As the nights draw in earlier and the sun rises later, attach a small light to your dog’s collar so they can be seen when out on walks in reduced visibility.

 

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