We had a brief warm up, but the cold weather is returning! We know that our clients keep some of their pets outdoors and we just wanted to send out
some helpful tips on how to keep your dog warm during the remainder of winter.
- Every dog is different! – Breed and hair coat determines whether or not your pet is susceptible to getting cold. Breeds such as Alaskan malamutes, Huskies, and Chow Chows are genetically able to hand cold weather better than other breeds. Those with short hair, like Dobermans, toy breed dogs, or those with no hair are prone to getting very cold outside. If you clip or shave your dog, then it will be less able to tolerate cold!
- Provide adequate shelter– Puppies should absolutely not be allowed to remain outdoors during the winter season. They can’t keep themselves warm because they have a different type of fat tissue than adult dogs! If you have an adult dog outside, then provide adequate shelter and regularly change its bedding. Use a thick layer of straw, old clothes, or lots of blankets. Keep the shelter insulated, heated, and provide adequate protection against rain. A great tip is to throw a hot water blanket under the blankets to provide extra warmth. Through extreme cold weather even a dog house may not be warm enough, so consider a barn or another form of shelter that is warmer. If our winter is especially long and cold, consider bringing your dog inside.
- Doggie clothes & booties– It may seem silly to some of you, but dogs can benefit from wearing a sweater/jacket and booties. They get cold and shiver just like us, so if your dog is one that is a toy breed or has short/no hair then they can benefit from a sweater. A great tip is to throw the sweater in the dryer for 15 minutes so that it provides your pet immediate warmth. My Great Dane seems like a big tough breed, but he has short hair and shivers when he goes outside, so yes, he also has a sweater and rain jacket.
- Groom your dog appropriately– Don’t shave or clip your dog if he is staying outside. Brushing is important since mats develop when not properly groomed and won’t provide enough warmth and insulation. Also, please only bathe your dog indoors and dry them completely before putting them back outside. Short baths with warm water will help to keep your pet from getting too cold.
- Winter illnesses– Dogs can get colds just like us and can get frostbite as well. If you think your dog has a respiratory infection then he needs veterinary care immediately. Inspect your dog for signs of frostbite by looking at the ear tips and tail. If it appears white, red, grey, hard or dry, wrap the extremities in blankets or towels then inform your vet immediately.
- X Anti-freeze X is TOXIC! – During the winter season we leave our anti-freeze around more, unaware of the detrimental effects. Dogs love its sweet taste, but ingestion of this fatal! Seek veterinary care immediately if you think your dog got into the anti-freeze or any type of poison.
- Transitioning an indoor dog to an outdoor dog– Please do NOT do this abruptly! Dogs need to acclimatize to being outside and need to grow a thicker winter coat. This needs to start during the cool autumn days and nights before they are left outside in winter.