Dogs in Winter: Care and Considerations

July 31, 2018
Everyone is affected by the cold during the winter and pets are no exception. Cold weather affects a dog’s health, that’s why owners should make sure their pets are safe when the temperature drops. Continue reading to learn more about taking care of your pet during the winter!

Which dogs are the most vulnerable?

Due to the difficulties they have regulating their body temperature naturally, you must take special care of these dogs during winter:

  • Puppies.
  • Older dogs.
  • Small breeds.
  • Short-haired dogs.
  • Dogs that are have or have a history of breathing problems.
 There are dog breeds that can tolerate extremely low temperatures very well. Nordic dogs are one example. They come from breeds originating in the northern hemisphere, which is extremely cold at any latitude.
Dog eating
The most common Nordic breeds are: Akita, Danish Mastiff, Chow, Norwegian Elkhound, Canadian Eskimo, Siberian Husky, Norwegian Lundehund, Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed and Swedish Vallhund.
These dogs don’t usually have problems with the winter, but rather in summer. You must protect them from heat stroke, which is detrimental to their health.

Caring for dogs during the winter

When it comes to taking care of dogs during the winter, you should consider certain recommendations. Ideally, you want your dog to live through the winter healthy and without any problems.

Feeding

During the winter, dogs tend to eat more in order to store energy that allows them to stay warm. You should be keep a close eye on your dog’s food intake, because if the dog spends periods of time at the house and eats too much, he could gain unnecessary weight.

Water

Although it seems obvious, it’s necessary to make sure your dog’s water is fresh on daily basis. Also, it’s a good idea to check if the water has not frozen and that it is clean.

Paws

Dog paw pads are very important organs. The cold ground may cause cracks in his pads. Plus, chemicals used to thaw the street are usually toxic. So your dog can be intoxicated by licking his paws.
To prevent your dog from getting any of these problems, you can go the pet store and get some booties for his feet.  Just make sure that they are his appropriate size so they don’t feel uncomfortable.

Use a leash

Because of the toxic fluids used to warm the sidewalks, you should walk your dog on a leash. That way you can control where he walks, and prevent him from stepping on these kinds of substances.

The sleeping place

During the winter, dogs that sleep outdoors must have a protected space. This place must be protected from the wind, rain or snow. Sawdust or blankets can also be used to maintain heat and control moisture. No matter what, when temperature drops to extreme levels, it’s best for the dog to sleep inside the house.

Christmas and New Years

When planning for the winter and your dog´s safety, you would eventually have to consider New Year’s celebrations. You must make sure that none of your guests don’t give alcohol or anything unhealthy to your dog. Be especially careful with alcohol, because it can produce hypothermia.

Finally, you must be careful with Christmas decorations. Although they have nothing to do with temperature, they do pose a threat to the animal’s health.

Walking dogs

Walks

Walks during the winter should be short. Too much time outdoors can cause the dog to experience hypothermia. If there is room at home, you can do activities or play games that cause him to exercise a little.

Dogs are not objects

During the winter people usually start thinking giving special Christmas gifts such as a puppy. If plan on doing this, then make sure that the person you plan on giving the dog to, actually wants and can take care of a dog.
It’s a good idea because many of these puppies that are given away at parties end up on the street or in kennels. It’s better to only give this gift to people you know so you can ask if they really want one.

Cars, winter, and dogs

Dogs, just like human beings, seek warmth. When a dog sleeps in the garage, he’ll get close to the engine to feel more at ease. This is not a problem, until the car is turned on. Be very careful and check your car before starting it.