Although our dogs are naturally gifted with fur to keep them warm, this may not be enough in the cold winter months. When the colder months start to kick in, keeping dogs warm should be the priority of every pet owner. We have to make sure that our dogs have sufficient warmth to be comfortable and healthy during the cold season.
Our dogs are exposed to many health risks during the colder months of the year. Here are some of them:
Hypothermia is a condition wherein the body drops to an extremely low temperature. When our dogs are exposed to harsh cold temperature for an extended period, they are most likely to get hypothermia which may lead to more serious complications. Hypothermia can be a result of prolonged exposure to weather, wet fur, and submersion to cold water for a long time.
Frostbite is typically characterized by bluish pale skin, redness and peeling on the affected area, and in extreme cases, black skin. It usually affects the extremities like the toes, tails, and ears of your dogs. Although frostbite may not be a severe condition, it should be immediately addressed as it may result in hypothermia.
Dogs can also be affected by colds, which are caused by different viruses. Dogs, like humans, are more susceptible to catching colds during the winter months. Some of the symptoms of dog colds are sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose.
A Kennel cough, also called canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a respiratory disease that is caused by either bacteria or viruses. It is highly contagious and can spread among dogs living in close quarters. Some of the symptoms of kennel cough are hacking and harsh coughing that sounds as if your pet is choking. This may be accompanied by other symptoms such as watery eyes and sneezing.
Tips on Keeping your Dogs Warm
To avoid these illnesses, here are some tips on how to keep your pets cozy and warm during the cold season.
Dress them in warm clothes.
Like humans, dogs are also affected by cold weather even if they have additional fur for warmth. Those with naturally thick coat may still need extra clothing when outdoors. Short- haired breeds may need extra clothing even when indoors. Keeping dogs warm can be as simple as dressing your dog in dog clothes like shirts, sweaters, and coats.
Provide your dogs with warm bedding.
Another way of keeping dogs warm is to provide them with warm beddings. Give them extra blankets and make sure their sleeping place is elevated from the floor which tends to be cold when not carpeted. There are also heat pads available for extra cold nights.
Feed your dogs well.
During the winter months, your dogs have different dietary needs. Outdoor dogs burn more calories in keeping themselves warm and are more likely to get hungry quickly. Feed them more food than usual and with food high in calories.
For dogs who stay indoors and who most likely have decreased physical activity, feed them with less food with fewer calories. However, be mindful of the food you give your dogs. Make sure they get a balanced diet and extra fatty acids.
Keep your dog house insulated.
It is best to keep your dogs indoors especially during the extreme weather. However, when you do not have a choice but to keep them outside, make sure that their dog house is equipped to protect them from the cold.
One way of keeping dogs warm is to put carpet on the floor of the dog house and make sure it is elevated from the ground. Make sure there are no holes and major cracks on the walls and ceiling. Add extra insulation by using foam, aluminum, plywood and pieces of timber. Line the floor with straw, which is a good insulator because aside from being affordable, it doesn’t get wet or freeze.
Go outside when the sun is out.
Take advantage of days when the sun is out and shining. Take your dog out for a walk during the late mornings to mid-noon when it’s warmer. If the sun has not been out for long, just ensure that your dog still gets some exercise indoors. Get them some dog toys and play games to stimulate blood flow.
Lastly, make sure you give your dogs some extra TLC during the cold winter months. Cuddling with your babies is an inexpensive and easy way of keeping dogs warm.
Let Positive Paws Training Help You
To help prepare and train your dogs during the cold months of the year, bring them to a trusted dog training company like Positive Paws Pet Training. Make sure your dogs are well-behaved and trained well by providing them with quality dog training and behavior classes.
If you are in the St. Charles and St. Louis area, bring your dog to Positive Paws Training for a consultation with Kimberly Gracner. You may also call 636-352-3104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.