Keeping Your Pet Warm in the Winter

Colder temperatures are on the way, whether you’re prepared or not. Colder temperatures can be killer on pets, especially pets who have to spend part of their day outside. Now I personally keep my pets indoors and warm all the time! But if you have a farm pet or another reason that you have to keep a pet outside, let’s discuss some ways you can prevent those cold temperatures from affecting their health in a bad way.

WHAT EFFECT DOES COLD WEATHER HAVE ON DOGS?

The holiday season is approaching, which means it will be frigid in some areas of the world. Even if you keep your pets warm and cozy inside by the fire most of the time, they still need to outside to relieve themselves, play and get exercise. The effects of cold weather on your dog are numerous:

Osteoarthritis:

Dogs, like humans, can get arthritis. Arthritis can affect dogs of any age, however it is more common in older dogs. It can great agitation while sleeping and make it it harder for your dog to jump, walk, sit, or stand.

Anxiety:

If your dog enjoys specific activities, such as swimming or hiking, but is unable to do so due to adverse weather, anxiety and frustration may develop.

Hypothermia:

Hypothermia can be scary or even deadly. Cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, or a drop in body temperature. This can result in breathing difficulties, reduced blood flow, and possibly a coma.

Weight gain:

If you live in an area with really cold weather and/or a lot of snow. it can be difficult for dogs to get regular activity. Weight gain is common when dogs get less exercise while maintaining the same caloric intake. Unwanted weight gain, unfortunately, can lead to other issues such as worsened osteoarthritis or the onset of diseases like diabetes mellitus.

Cracked and swollen paws:

The cold weather, as well as other causes such as road salt, can cause your dog’s paws to crack and swell. This can cause an infection since dogs will lick their paws to relieve the pain and discomfort.

Frostbite:

Watch out especially for dogs with short coats as they’re more apt to get frostbite in cold weather, which causes damage to the skin and other tissues.

ARE BLANKETS REQUIRED FOR DOGS?

My doggos love blankets and it’s just silly when dog owners say dog’s don’t need blankets! Yes, many dogs have have nice warm coats to keep them warm naturally, but most house dogs are bred out of their natural ability to keep themselves warm in the winter. My short hair dogs just adore snuggling under a warm blanket on a winter day. So maybe they aren’t required, but they sure do love them!

IS MY DOG REALLY COLD?

YES! It’s a big misconception that all dogs are covered from the cold just because they have a built in fur coat. Many dog breeds get very cold and either weren’t bred for the cold or are mutts and weren’t bred for any specific traits at all! If your dog feels cold, there are various indications to check for. Shivering or difficulty breathing are common signs of a cold dog, as are shallow breaths. They may also appear exhausted, with rigid muscles and pale complexion. If your dog exhibits any of these indicators when outside, or if you believe they will, it is strongly advised that you get a winter coat for them. Yes, you can buy coats, sweaters and hoodies for dogs of all sizes and besides looking really cute, they’re protection from the weather on those long winter walks!

PREVENTING DOGGIE FROSTBITE

The paws of your dog may be susceptible to chilly temperatures. Irritation and even abrasions can occur when ice builds around the paws and between the toes. Other chemicals mixed in with the snow, such as deicing salts, may also harm your dog’s paws.

Make sure your dog is wearing the proper booties and that they are the right size to avoid these problems. If your dog walks in the snow without boots, make sure to clean his paws with a towel afterward and limit his time outside.

KEEPING YOUR DOG WARM

Above all else, remember that your dogs are living, breathing animals, not decorations or toys to bring out when it’s convenient. Yes, there definitely are breeds of dogs that not only like the cold, but thrive in it, but there are also tons of dog breeds that don’t! Make sure your dog is warm and cared for at all times and if you don’t have a breed than can survive the cold, keep them toasty warm with you at night, inside the house!

I love dogs of all sizes, shapes and breeds! I love them so much that I have a lucrative side hustle all year round caring for dogs when they’re owners are away through Rover. If you want to learn how to do the same thing, check out my video on Youtube below!

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