Dogs are playful, and sometimes they just want to play outside regardless of the weather. However, the weather is not always ideal for your dog, especially in the winter. Playing in the cold weather may lead to many potential health risks, so as an owner, you need to know some tips to take good care of your dog in the cold weather.
Some owners greatly believe that since their dogs have coats of fur, they probably will not be cold during the winter. In fact, this is totally a misconception. A coat of fur only keeps a dog warm while indoor, whereas the cold weather can be very unpleasant to your dog. Therefore, knowing some dog care tips will make winter more tolerable and enjoyable for your little friend.
Keep warm using various ways.
I know this appears to be so obvious for us, because a person who does not have a pet also knows that it is essential to keep warm during the cold. However, not all of us knows the proper way to keep your dog warm. The first safe way to give your dog some heat is to go outdoor when the sun shines. Instead of walking your dog in early mornings or late afternoons, you can walk your dog when the sun is already up high. Sunshine will make the air warmer and more comfortable for both of you. Additionally, playing under the sun can provide you with vitamin D, which is beneficial for your health.
Warm and cozy blankets are also greatly loved by our furry friends. Sleeping on a cold floor is ideal in the summer, but not so much in the winter. Therefore, if possible, you can get a heated pet bed and extra blankets for your dog. The pet bed with a few thick layers of blankets on top will prevent your dog from getting too cold and stiff joints. If he is not comfortable with the new bed, you can help him familiarize with it by placing the bed near his favorite spot that he sleeps daily.
The most important tip to remember is to avoid the cold as much as possible when your dog does not feel good. Although your dog enjoys playing outdoor and it is totally possible to let him do so in winter, do keep an eye on him and bring him inside whenever you see some unusual signs. Especially at night when the temperature is low, you should check regularly if your dog needs any assistance.
Last but not least, while keeping warm for your dog is essential, some methods are in fact harmful and deleterious, such as using the heaters. The idea of using the heaters for your dog comes naturally to us as it is what we do to keep ourselves warm. However, dogs are different and heaters can become a great risk to them because of their flammable coats. In order to avoid your dog getting too close to heaters and potentially getting burned, install covers to cover up the heaters. Fireplace is also a similar threat, so make sure that you have a well-secured system to prevent your dog from getting close.
Appropriate amount of Feeding is crucial!
Feeding is another influential factor that dog owners should take into consideration. Just like humans, dogs are lazier and more inactive in the cold weather. Hence, they may not eat as much as they do usually. To keep your dog healthy, you should pay attention to the feeding by adjusting the amount of feed provided according to the needs of the dog. If possible, you can also improve the quality of the food by adding more whole foods to ensure a healthy coat for your dog. Moreover, don’t forget to add water too! When your dog plays outdoor, he may eat some snow but the snow does not provide sufficient water. As you place water outside for your little four-legged friend, it is recommended that you check the water often to break the ice on top. Keep in mind that even though the weather is cold, the dehydration process happens at the same rate, which means that your dog needs same amount of water as he normally does.
Additional care such as grooming and paw care cannot be omitted in winter.
Other than the essentials such as food, water, warmth, and so on, additional dog care should also be given. Besides regular grooming, paw care is important especially in winter. Ice building up between the pads and toxic winter salt are the things you want to avoid. By cleaning the paws, you can remove the toxins and prevent your dog from licking them and intoxicate themselves. You can follow this brief guide: firstly, you can trim the fur between his pads so that ice will not build up there. Next, use a cloth to wipe the paws, then apply paw salve to soothe any cracks on the pads. If needed, you can use pet booties to protect your dog’s paws. These steps are the most fundamental to keep his paws clean and clear that you can perform at home. If you want to give a more thorough cleaning session for your dog, you can check out professional services.
In short, winter time can be somewhat uncomfortable for all of us. As dog owners, there are plenty of things that we need to know to take good care of our pets. Sometimes, it is difficult to do your tasks while paying close attention to your dog all the times. However, being attentive at first will help you notice any signs of feeling cold or discomfort, and eventually help you know your dog better. Once you get to understand your dog’s physical limitations and reactions to external stimulators and temperature, you will handle this easily and effortlessly.