It’s often been said that dogs are a man’s best friend. While this might be true, sometimes it isn’t possible to keep family dogs indoors throughout the day. Whatever the reason they’re not inside, you’ll want to know how to keep your dog warm and healthy during cold weather.
Some dogs do better outdoors than indoors. Depending upon the breed they can do just fine in the colder temperatures. However, there are some things you’ll want to do to ensure they stay healthy and warm when the numbers on the thermometer dip.
Help Your Dog Stay Warm in the Winter
* Appropriate housing is an absolute must for any dog which must remain outdoors. Igloo-shaped dog houses are a very good choice, particularly if you put some type of bedding in the bottom of it. You can also use polar fleece for their bedding. The dog house will provide them with a warm place to sleep and help them stay out of inclement weather. The doorway is designed to keep cold temperatures out as well as give them room to move around.
* Adequate food is also important during the winter months. You want to be aware of how much your dog is eating because food will provide them with additional warmth. Check with your veterinarian to see how much food your dog should be eating each day during colder temperatures. Having the right amount of food, and possibly changing their diet during the winter, will help them build up fat reserves which will keep them warm.
* For nights which are colder than normal, you may want to provide your dog with an additional layer of warmth. There are many manufacturers which offer dog coats which can be held on with Velcro to give your pooch extra warmth in bitter temperatures. These are particularly important for small dogs and those with short hair.
* Pay close attention to your dog’s extremities. Even though dogs have fur, it is still possible for your pet to get frostbite. Check their ears, tail tip and toes regularly. In case of frostbite the areas will feel cold, the skin will look white and they may feel hard and dry. Take your dog to the vet to be checked out immediately if you suspect it has frostbite.
* Spend the time needed to keep your dog well groomed. Brush the coat and trim the fur around their paws. Matted fur will retain moisture which will keep the dog colder. Furry feet will also become caked with mud, ice and snow so you’ll want to trim the fur to keep this from happening.
* Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water throughout the day. On those days when temperatures dip below freezing, you’ll want to check their water more often to ensure it isn’t frozen.
* If the temperatures get too cold, think about bringing your four-legged friend indoors. Even if they are a breed which can handle colder weather, there is a limit to what a dog can handle. If the temperature is below zero and the wind is blowing 20 miles per hour, your dog could be in danger of developing frostbite.
You may have a dog that is accustomed to being outdoors. However, even if your dog is a Husky or Great Pyrenees, you’ll still want to keep it warm and healthy this winter. The above steps are the absolute minimum you’ll want to follow. For more specific tips, you can check with your veterinarian.