How does your dog enjoy the winter? Playing out in the snow or staying indoors? Different dogs have different patterns of adjusting to changing weather conditions. Whatever way your dog has chosen to enjoy the winter, yours is to ensure that your dog is prepared and kitted enough to endure the weather condition so he or she can enjoy the season.
Dog undercoats are not all the same, with some being thick and others barely enough to keep the pet warm. It is crucial to follow these tips for your dog care this winter to keep your dog safe.
A lot of people who have dogs as pets think that the presence of furs on the body of their pet automatically makes them more tolerant to cold weather than humans. It is important, however, to note that this is not likely the case. Just like humans are, these beautiful friends need the warmth of indoor shelter, and it is a fact that irrespective of their furs, the cold weather can be as hard on them as it is on us.
When dogs are exposed to cold, they are likely to develop a Frostbite and hypothermia.
When a dog’s body gets cold, the dog’s body automatically pulls blood to the center of the body; this process is an adaptive measure to keep the dog warm. The dog’s paws, ear, or tail gets cold and sometimes so cold that ice crystals begin to form in the tissue and damage it. All of these experiences described is what is referred to as Frostbite in dogs. You may not find the symptoms of Frostbite on the surface, and it may only get noticed after a long period of time. Usually, at this point, the condition has gone beyond normal. In detecting Frostbite, lookout for signs of pale or grey skin, also pay attention to the texture of the skin to ascertain whether it is hard and cold as they are possible symptoms of Frostbite. The affected areas appear black with time and eventually sloughs off. Frostbitten regions can be extremely painful as they warm.
Another severe winter weather condition is hypothermia. It happens mostly when a dog spends plenty of time in the cold, gets wet in a cold climate, or when a dog with a poor health condition is exposed to severe cold. In some moderate cases, the dog shivers, and the ears and feet may become very cold.
As hypothermia keeps progressing, the dog is likely to show signs of depression, weakness, and lethargy. As the condition worsens, the dog’s muscles stiffen, the heart and breathing rates slow down drastically, and the dog may not respond to stimuli as expected. Severe hypothermia is very much life-threatening and should get urgent treatment.
CARE IN WINTER:
- PAY ATTENTION: Always remember that whenever it is too cold for you as a human to stand at the door without your coat, it is probably way too cold for your dog also. You should pay attention to the dog’s general behavior while the dog is outdoors as this will help you identify anomalies in cases of harsh weather conditions, also if your dogs start any form of whining, shivering, or anxiousness, identify the possible cause of the abnormal behavior and never allow it linger. One common way to check for abnormality in dogs is watching out for a seeming change. If the dog stops playing and appears to be looking for places to burrow, then it’s time to take the dog in.
- GO OUT ONLY WHEN THE SUN SHINES: You should cultivate a habit of going out only when it is sunny. Try your best to avoid unfavorable weather conditions for the safety of your dog. If you are going to walk your dog, choose either late hours of the morning or early hours of the afternoon; around this time, the weather is usually a little warmer than it should be. That is the only possible way to stay safe.
- DON'T LET YOUR DOG FETCH STICKS: Another fun part of dogs is having to watch them get sticks. As much as this gets you excited, it also exposes the dogs to injuries. Avoid permitting your dog to fetch sticks, try softer materials as it helps you avoid injuries.
- STAY INDOORS MORE: If the weather condition is freezing, do not take your dog outside. Your dog may be intolerant to severe cold conditions. It is safer to allow the dog to remain indoors rather than being exposed to health risks.
- THE RIGHT BEDDING: In addition to avoiding the outdoor cold, do not let your dog sleep on a cold floor in the winter. Choose the right bedding to ensure that your dog stays warm. Warm blankets create a friendly environment, and also raised beds can keep your dog away from cold tiles or concrete. Heated pet beds could be the best option as they can help keep stiffness off your dog’s aging joints. Always place your dog’s bed in a warm spot away from the cold tile, drafts, or bare floors. Preferably a favorite spot where the dog sleeps every day so that the area doesn’t feel strange.
Other ways include getting a dog jacket for your smaller dogs and making sure to keep your dog from too much heat as they tend to find warm places to rest during the cold weather, which might not be too good for their health also.