The weather’s chilly and is your dog feeling the cold? A chilly dog is not a happy dog. At times, your pets’ fur coat is not enough to protect them during the cold times, especially if they’re small, very young or short-haired.
So here are a few tips for pet care to keep in mind:
- Is your pet shaking or shivering a lot?
Occasional trembling could indicate mere excitement or nervousness, but it can also be a symptom of excessive cold.
- Is your dog making a lot of noise?
Dogs who have been outside in the cold for too long will start to bark, whine, or howl. They’re trying to communicate that they’re cold and need to warm up— by going inside.
- Does your dog appear tired?
This could mean hypothermia in severe cases. A life-threatening condition, its symptoms include drowsiness, weakness, lethargy, muscle stiffness, accompanied by slow and shallow breathing.
- Feel your dog’s ears to check whether they feel cold.
If their ears that are cold to the touch, it points to the fact that the whole animal is cold as well.
- A tucked-in tail and hunched back
Dogs who are standing with a hunched back and a tucked-in tail or even trying to curl up in a ball are probably trying to conserve body heat.
- Stiff or limping
Dogs who are taking slow, cautious steps or limping may be having cold paws or stiff muscles as a result of very low temperatures.
- How about you?
If you’re chilly, your pets probably are too. Even long-haired dogs can freeze to death if they’re outside in the cold for too long.
- Ensure cover and warmth
Make sure your house is at a reasonable temperature and that your dog has a warm, cozy bed. Cover or dress up dogs that tend to get chilly in a warm sweater or coat—whether outdoors or indoors. Ensure that they get a chance to let their skin breathe once in a while. Wash their sweater regularly as well.
- Tips for grooming
If you occasionally shave your dog or even groom his coat, be sure to allow for the fur to grow back in time for cold times. It’d be wise to trim the fur around the paw pads to prevent snow and sludge from building up during walks.
- Keeping pets clean during winter
Do not bathe dogs outdoors during the winter season. Wash them indoors with warm water and dry them off right away. Similarly, pets who get wet in the snow or rain too should be dried off with a towel as soon as possible.
You treat dogs like members of your family. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to cold as well. This holds true for at any time of the year—, especially during the hottest and coldest seasons.
Of course, any pet should never be left outside in the cold unattended for too long. If you do see dogs being treated in this manner, at least make sure that they have unfrozen water to drink, and adequate shelter—such as a straw bedding or a doghouse—to protect them from the cold.