Winter is just around the corner, and it’s time to start preparing for it. Doing winter house maintenance and buying warm clothes for you and your family is probably already on your list. But what about your dog? Our little furry friends dread the cold weather as much as we do. The only difference is they don’t know winter is coming. That’s why we need to help them and prepare them for the cold. Even though our dogs are designed to survive winter without as much protection, they still need our help. Therefore, let’s talk about things you should do to prepare your dog for the cold weather.
Spend Less Time Outdoors and More Time Indoors
Playing in the snow is usually heaven for your dog. Running through and rolling around the thick layers of snow is something that will get them super excited, especially if another dog is playing with them. While this is extremely cute to watch, you have to know when to stop the fun. Otherwise, playing too long in the snow during cold weather can cause frostbite and even hypothermia. You definitely don’t want your pup suffering from either. So, make sure to limit their outdoor time and check for frostbite once you come home.
Even though dogs love playing outside and being active is important for them, winter is not an ideal time for that. That’s why spending quality time in the house is something you should consider if you want to prepare your dog for the cold weather. There are many fun indoor exercises for your dog you have to try. These kinds of house-friendly activities will both keep your dog active and entertained for the day. So, it’s an excellent alternative for outside in the cold weather.
Build Them a Cozy Nook/Den
Cold winter weather can get pretty harsh. That’s why you have to put in a little effort and make a cozy little nook where your doggo can snuggle and warm up. This is especially important for tiny and sensitive dogs who can easily catch hypothermia, such as pugs, chihuahuas, maltese, etc. So, how can you provide them with a warm shelter? Firstly, consider adding extra padding to your dog’s bed. Then, throw in a blanket or two – your pup will love it! If you want to go the extra mile, you can invest in a heating dog bed or pads. So, make your apartment pet-friendly and help them enjoy your home by keeping them cozy in the wintertime.
If your furry friend is a husky, german shepherd, or any other winter-proof breed, you can relax a little, but not too much. Thanks to their robust bodies and thick coats, they tolerate cold weather and extremely low temperatures better than other dog breeds. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t get cold. So, don’t forget to make a warm and cozy refuge for your backyard dogs as well. Insulate the dog house well or invest in one built for low temperatures.
Bundle Them Up in Warm Clothes
Another way to prepare your dog for the cold weather is to buy them warm clothes such as sweaters or coats. Fortunately, you can find clothes for your furry friend in every pet store nowadays. You can find them in different styles, sizes, and designs. This extra layer of protection will keep them warm when you take them for a walk or when they play in the snow. If you have one of the tiny breeds or a dog with short hair, this extra layer is practically a must. Say hi to playing outside longer, and bye to hypothermia!
Bathe Them Less Frequently
If you bathe your dog too often during winter, you’ll remove protective oils from their skin. This will cause dry, flaky skin. Additionally, frequent washing will increase hair falling which leads to thinning of the protective coat. This isn’t something you want to happen in the winter, so bathe your dogs less frequently and help them tolerate the winter well. Oh, if your dog gets stinky, you can ask your vet for a moisturizing shampoo or cream to keep them fresh all the time.
Take Good Care of Little Paws
Your pooch’s paws are extremely sensitive, especially in cold weather. A lot can go wrong if you don’t take proper care of them. So, here are a few steps you should take in order to protect their little feet:
- Clean and dry their paws as soon as you get back from outside. If they like to play in the snow or muddy puddles, it’s essential to clean their paws. Dry them as well to warm them up and prevent any problems later. A heating pad would come in handy here. In addition, salted sidewalks are toxic for your dog, so make sure to properly clean their paws to avoid intoxication.
- Check for frozen hair in between the toes and pads. As they get wet, it’s only normal that wet hair gets frozen in the cold weather. So, make sure to warm them up and get rid of all the frozen hair. You can prevent ice balls by trimming the foot fuzz, keeping the hair even with the surface of the foot.
- Try to put them on winter boots for dogs. This is an extra precaution many dog owners take, but it’s not necessary. And if your dog doesn’t like the boots, don’t force them to wear them.
- If your furry friend has a problem with extra dry paws, contact your vet and ask for some pomade or pet-friendly moisturizer.
Give Them Extra Treats
In order to stay warm, your dog will lose more calories, especially if they are an outdoor dog that likes playing all the time. To keep them warm, you’ll have to enhance their daily calories intake. So, don’t skimp on the treats; toss a few more during winter. After all, everybody’s allowed a few extra sweets during the holidays, right? This will both boost their energy and help them provide the inner body heat they need.
Protect Them From Winter Products
Protect your dog from cold weather by keeping them away from winter products. Most of them are toxic for your dog, so you need to keep an eye on them while near those products. For example, deicing chemicals, like sodium chloride (rock salt) and calcium chloride, are used to keep city sidewalks safe for pedestrians, but they can harm paw pads. So, make sure to clean your dog’s paws as soon as you come home. In addition, antifreeze and coolant are toxic for your pet, so make sure to keep them on a high shelf and clean every leakage from your car.
Keep Their Ears Dry
In addition to the paws, your dog’s ears are also extremely sensitive during winter, to both cold and wind. So, to protect them from frostbite and ear infections, make sure to dry their ears as soon as you come inside. You can always make things fun and get them cute earmuffs. Why not have a little fun and protect your dog from the cold weather at the same time! This is one of the crucial things you should do to prepare your dog for the cold weather.
Regular Hydration Is A Must
Many pet owners think that hydration is the most important in summer because pets run hot in warm weather. While this is correct, the truth is that regular and proper hydration helps dogs regulate their body temperature, whether it’s hot or cold. This means that drinking water in the winter will keep them warm. Therefore, keeping them well-hydrated in the cold weather is a step you cannot miss. In addition, a hydrated pup is a happy pup.
Furthermore, think about the material of dog bowls you use in the winter. You don’t want to put a metal bowl in front of your dog, especially if they are drinking the water outside, because the metal freezes at low temperatures. So, when your dog licks the bowl, their tongue can stick, and they can get hurt. That’s why you should go for plastic bowls.
Brush Out Old Fur
If you own a dog with a full coat, you’ll have to take extra care of it in the winter. Simply put, a new fresh coat will start growing as you brush out the old fur. Clumpy, tangled fur is less insulating and takes longer to dry than a clean coat. For example, if your dog plays in the snow, their hair will catch ice and moisture and, thus, get matted. This can lead to irritation or frostbite. Well, if you brush your dog’s hair regularly, this won’t happen. Fortunately, there are many pet-friendly brushes available in stores and online. Therefore, don’t wait up and purchase one that suits your furry friend the best.
Our dogs are our best friends in the whole wide world, and we need to protect them at all costs. This includes following these ten things you should do to prepare your dog for the cold weather. Taking care of your pup during winter is extremely important, so make sure to keep them happy and warm at all times. Now, have a cozy winter and very merry holidays!
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