A dog can be a great companion during winter. While many dogs might enjoy the winter, there are a few things you need to watch out for. Keeping your dog warm during winter is one of them. A healthy thick coat of fur will definitely keep them warm, however all pets can develop a cold and can catch frost bites, sniffles, flu or pneumonia. Hypothermia in dogs is another common occurrence where your pet’s body temperature levels get low when they spend too much time outside in the cold, which is especially true if your dog is already ailing from a heart condition or diabetes.
Here are some ways on how to keep your dog warm in winter
1) Avoid long walks, instead play indoor games to warm up their bodies
Dogs in winter do need their exercise on a daily basis, however, it is best to be a little cautious during this season. Especially early in the morning or late at night when the temperatures are at their lowest, it is advisable to stick to shorter walks and indulge in more indoor playtime. This will ensure that they get their daily dose of exercise and fun while keeping the cold winters at bay. Though the average body temperature of dogs is around (38.3 to 39.2°C) which is higher than that of a human, it still is imperative to keep your dog protected from harsh weather conditions.
2) A warm spot for wintry nights
Many dog owners think that their pooch is fine without extra blankets during the winter because it has fur, but veterinarians advise giving your dog warm clothes or keeping them warm by spreading a blanket. You can also add extra layers of a fluffy blanket underneath them to provide that extra cosiness. Most often, if the temperature is a tad too cold for you, it’s likely to be the same for your pets too.
3) Buy a Doggie Jacket
Some breeds that have lush coats may be able to handle cold weather better than breeds that are smaller and with shorter fur. You can get your pooch a jacket or sweater to wear when you're outdoors together. Buy a jacket that fits snugly and that isn't too tight. You should also make sure that it doesn't have zippers or any metallic attachments that can cause irritation or pose a choking hazard. If your dog doesn't warm up to the idea of wearing the jacket, you can keep them outdoors for a shorter period of time during the day and let him spend more time indoors at other times.
4) Take care of those cute paws
During winter, a dog's paws can get wet from an early morning walk, so it's important to wipe the paws dry before they get inside. If the dog's paws look dry and chapped, they can be moisturized with coconut oil or any other safe dog moisturizer.
5) Use a heater or a heat lamp
If you find that the temperatures are too cold, you can use a heater that is safe to keep in the dog house or anywhere close to it. If you don't wish to do that, you can also place a heating pad underneath the layers of blanket to ensure there is some source of heat close to the dog.
6) Ensure that they are well-fed
If your pooch is well-fed, their body is bound to stay a little warmer than when they haven't had enough to eat. You can give them healthy dog treats in between meals to ensure they chew and keep themselves active. You can also warm up the food a little before you serve them to your dog.
7) Keep their coats dry and clean
Ensure to wipe their fur thoroughly right after a walk in the morning. This will make sure that their coats are dry and act as an insulation towards harsh temperatures. When you bathe your dog, you should ensure that their body (ears and paws included) is dried properly.
8) Ensure their sleeping spot is away from drafty areas.
Place their bed away from open doors and windows where there is a possibility of cold air or wind blowing in. There can even be small gaps and holes from where the wind can blow, therefore keep them away from such places .
How cold is too cold for a dog?
When you are thinking of how cold is too cold for a dog, temperatures that are below 0°C are definitely very cold for dogs in winter. Therefore, you should ensure that you don’t allow your dog outside for long periods. Just like humans, very young dogs and senior dogs are more susceptible to cold winters. A thick coat may protect your dog but thier ears, nose, tail and paws are still more exposed than the rest of its body. If you find symptoms like lethargy, watery eyes and nose, sneezing, shivering or general weakness in your pet, then it can be a sign of your dog feeling cold. At such times, if your dog has an outdoor kennel, it is crucial to bring them inside.
You should also be sure to change your dog’s drinking water every now and then to provide them water that is of the right temperature. In steel bowls, water tends to run cold very soon when exposed to the open air.
You can check the body temperature of dogs to ensure that they are under the normal range. This will give you a clear idea of whether your dog is cold or comfortable.
You can also give them healthy hard chew bars, to keep them nibbling and chewing, which will ensure that they don't just go cold without any activity. These hard bars will let your dogs exercise their jaws, which can be a great source of calcium for their teeth and other essential proteins and vitamins.
Though certain regions may not face temperatures below 0* C, it is still advisable to keep a watch on your dog’s general well-being during winter. You can keep your dogs in winter active and engaged at least for some time during the day and keep them in good spirits.