Freezing temperatures, rain, and snow are sure to make your pets and animals miserable this winter. Experts recommend that you keep your pets indoors. But even if your canine friend spends time outdoors in winter, these tips can help keep him safe and healthy.
Prepare for the Coming Winter
Obviously, breeds with thick coats or long hair or are more tolerant of the cold than short-haired dogs. You should not clip your pet’s fur short during winter, and any breed of dog can benefit from an appropriate dog sweater or coat when out on walks. Make sure that you dry any wet clothing completely before dressing up your pooch. Ensure a good fit and accustom your dog to wearing it. Make sure that it is a good and comfortable fit, and your pet can behave normally.
Even before the onset of the cold, you can take measures to prepare your dog for a change in seasons. It’s advisable for pets to have a regular annual examination that can help identify problems which can be exacerbated by cold weather. With a diagnosis, your vet can provide medication to help with such symptoms. Puppies and aging dogs are more susceptible to the ravages of winter. Pets with diabetes or kidney disease can have difficulty regulating their body temperature and consequently are at increased risk.
A dog uses up his own body energy to keep warm. According to studies, you can provide 10 to 15 percent more food to your dog to replenish extra calories. Even though added fat too can help add calories, it could also result in diarrhea or gastrointestinal disturbances. House dogs that spend the majority of their time inside will find sudden exposure to the cold quite a shock. Your pet may feel cold even when indoors. Make sure that your dog’s favorite bed is placed away from drafts. It’s better to avoid the use of heated pet mats or radiating heaters that can increase the risk of fire and burns.
Even the best-insulated dogs will still feel the contrast in temperatures when venturing outside to relieve themselves. Smaller breeds can be trained to urinate or defecate on paper or diaper-like pads indoors in harsh weather.
Exercising Care Outdoors
Limit the length of your pet’s time outside in cold temperatures. When below freezing, spend no more than 10 to 15 minutes outdoors. Keep your pet dog away from frozen ponds, lakes or rivers which can pose a danger, and make sure their paws don’t get impacted with snow. When walking your dog in the dark, wear reflective clothing and think about a reflective collar or light for his collar to keep you both safe.
Depending on the weather and temperature, a pet can spend enough time outside with proper precautions. Ensure that accumulation of ice or snow does not block your dog’s access to food, water, or other needs. Do not keep your pet outdoors when the temperature drops below zero.
High winds often accompany cold weather, so it is vital that an outdoor kennel provides adequate shelter. A proper dog house should be well-insulated, sturdy, draft-free and dry. The flooring should be at least a few inches above the ground and covered with matting. There should be enough space for your pet to move around, and compact enough to retain it’s body heat. If required, cover the opening further with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
Related Post: Top Tips for Walking Your Dog in Winter