Dogs can feel cold in the winter just like us, even if they have a thick heavy coat of fur. Ensure that they are warm and cozy this winter by following these suggestions.
Keep going outside short
Obviously most dogs require going outside to use the bathroom, however, in the winter that can be a bad experience for you and your dog! Be sure to limit the amount of time your dog spends outside in the cold, especially if there is snow or other bad weather. They are not meant to be outside in the extreme cold for long periods of time, just like us. Be sure to wipe their paws when you are done outside. Ice, salt, snow, etc. can all get stuck in your dogs paws and they have certain chemicals in them that may be toxic to your dog! Also check for any injuries in their paws while you wipe them off.
Layer them up!
If you have a small dog or a dog with short hair, you should put some sort of a jacket or sweater on them when going outside. This will protect them from the chill and any wind in the air. Older dogs and puppies can't regulate their body temperature very well, and therefore they may need some kind of clothing as well. If it is so cold that your face needs to be covered and you feel theirs does too, you should probably avoid taking them outside. This just ensures that they are safe, and extra warm when they need to be!
Keeping a dog bed is always a good idea, especially in the winter. Adding a few blankets to it is also nice in the winter because they will keep them extra warm. Some owners may even use a heated blanket for their dogs if they are still cold, but this should only be done under supervision. (Be sure they don't chew on the power cord, and don't keep it on them too long or it could cause burns!)
Don't leave them in the car
Just as in the summer, dogs shouldn't be left in the car over the winter. The temperatures can drop significantly in the vehicle pretty quickly. It may not be a direct threat to their health, but it can't be comfortable for your pup.
Know the warning signs
Dogs can experience hypothermia and frostbite just like we can, so be sure to know the symptoms to look out for. This includes:
- Being whiny/anxious
- Not moving
- Moving very slowly
- Looking for a place to hide/burrow
- Shivering continuously
- Seems weak
- Ice on their body
If you notice any of these after your dog has been outside, wrap them up and get them warm and call the vet immediately. Frostbite present differently, though. When wiping your dogs paws after they go out, you should check their paws and the rest of their body for any unusual coloring or patches, and call your vet with any questions.