Does your dog get excited to play in the snow, or do they curl up in a ball for the entire winter, waiting for the ice to melt? Whether you have a snow dog or a summer puppy, use these tips to keep your dog warm to prevent hypothermia and frostbite, and to keep your dog comfortable no matter how frightful the weather gets.
Essential Doggie Winter Apparel
Your dog will need at least one sturdy, high-quality coat to get them through the winter. It should be waterproof, and if your dog will be near any roads or wooded areas, opt for reflective strips. can get a sweater for your dog to wear inside the house. You could also layer the sweater under the coat for extra warmth. Dogs have a specialized circulatory system in their feet that keeps their paws from freezing. So, you do not necessarily need to provide your dog with booties for the purpose of keeping their paws warm. Even so, while this adaption keeps your dog's paws from freezing, some dogs have more sensitive paws than others. Warmth is not the only reason to consider getting booties for your dog. Booties protect your dog's paws from ice melt, which can irritate their paw-pads, and may be toxic if your dog ingests it by licking their paws. If your dog has long fur between their paws, snow may form ice-balls between their toes. This is a harmless, though annoying issue as it can take a while for the ice to melt once the dog is indoors. If your dog hates footwear, the next best thing is a Paw Balm that forms a protective barrier on their feet.
How Cold Is Too Cold For Your Dog?
A short-haired Chihuahua will start to shiver at 13 degrees, while a Malamute may be happy for hours in freezing temperatures. Your dog's breed, size, age and body condition will all affect how they tolerate cold weather. You'll typically be able to tell when your dog is cold when they're outside. They may shiver, stop playing, and try to go back inside. Sometimes, though, dogs can be too distracted by play to show signs of being cold.
Special Care For Seniors And Puppies
Puppies tend to have less fur than adult dogs, and they may not be as efficient at maintaining their core body temperature. Limit outdoor play for puppies in the winter, going for short potty trips inside of long romps in the snow. Senior dogs, especially those affected by arthritis, may feel stiffer as the weather gets colder. Light exercise can help loosen their joints, but it's best done indoors.
Keeping Your Dog Warm At Night
When your dog is cold at night, they'll typically curl up into a tight ball to minimize the exposed surface area of their body. If your dog is curled up, they would probably appreciate it if you draped a warm blanket over them. If there's a cold draft in your home, an elevated bed could help keep your dog warm. You can put blankets or another bed on top of it to add cushion. Also look for a bed with high sides that will block any cold air. You can hang a blanket over your dog's crate to help block cold air. Be sure to furnish it with soft blankets so you dog can burrow without laying directly on the hard bottom tray.
Warming Up Your Dog When They Come Inside
Keep a towel by your door so you'll be able to dry off your dog as soon as they come inside. Gently dislodge any balls of ice on their fur; a hair dryer can speed up this process if your dog is not terrified of it. You can also warm them up with a "beverage." Try offering your dog a steaming bowl of boiled carrot juice, unseasoned, low-sodium chicken or beef stock or broth, you can also pour some warm water over their food to bring out the flavours and help keep your dog hydrated.