Keeping a Dog Comfortable during Winters

For most people, sipping velvety hot chocolate, curled up on a couch in a plush blanket next to the fireplace, makes for a perfect winter night, and rightly so. Relishing the warmth under wraps at home while the frigid air howls outside is considered a delight. But staying warm in the chilly season is more than a pleasurable experience; it’s a necessity. If someone wants to stay healthy and well when the temperature drops, they must restore their body heat by drinking warm beverages or bundling up in multiple layers. And generally, that is what most people do; they stay indoors, and when they have to go out, they cover themselves up as best they can. This way, they stay safe. But when it comes to pets, the matter of staying warm is a bit hazy.

Many pet parents assume that pets, especially dogs, have thick fur coats to keep them safe from the cold. But that’s not the case. Even dogs with the thickest outer layers can feel uncomfortable if exposed to the elements for prolonged durations, and those breeds are generally not domesticated. This means that most pet dogs have a relatively thin coat, which is why they need extra warmth in winter, just like humans.
If you are a paw-parent, then you must take the following measures to keep your dog comfortable during winters.

Limit Outdoor Activities

Going out for winter activities means exposure to the freezing wind, long periods of which can cause serious health problems in a dog. Even the toughest arctic dogs shouldn’t stay out for too long in the frosty season. When a canine is exposed to the elements for prolonged durations, it can develop frostbites or hypothermia, which can be life-threatening in some cases.

Common Canine Winter Ailments: Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite is a condition characterized by freezing of the paws, tail, and ears in a dog. When canines get cold, their body (mid-section) extracts heat from the extremities, causing the pads, ears, and the tail’s lower end to freeze. In extreme cases, frostbite can lead to loss of function in the affected area.

Just like frostbite, hypothermia is also a common winter occurrence in dogs. It is a condition characterized by the loss of heat from the body due to extremely long periods of outside exposure. In its early stages, a dog may get agitated, but as hypothermia aggravates, a dog can become weak, develop depression, and a low heart rate.

In any case, a dog’s health will suffer. Therefore, you must keep your fur child safe by avoiding keeping them out needlessly. If you need to take them out for a walk or exercise, do it when the sun is out. And when out in the open, always be on the lookout for signs of discomfort that your little bundle of fur might start to exhibit once the cold gets too much for them. Restlessness, whining, anxiousness, or roving around for a place to burrow are some common red flags that indicate a dog’s uneasiness in the cold wind.

Dress Your Dog Warmly

As mentioned earlier, humans love to stay warm, wrapped in multiple layers of wool. Likewise, dogs also feel all fuzzy and comfortable when bundled up in a woolen sweater. If you have not invested in a soft jumper for your snuggle buddy, you must do so before the winter season rolls around.

For dogs, a sweater must cover their legs and abdomen. But even then, their ears, tails, and paws are exposed to the chilled atmosphere. So, even if you have wrapped your best bud in a woolen layer, you shouldn’t keep them outside for long.

Keep your Dog away from Heaters

To beat the coldness, dogs naturally look for sources, such as the fireplace or a heater, to get some heat. While doing so may keep your four-legged companion warm, it can also put them at risk of burning. So, avoid placing space heaters and look into installing baseboard radiator covers. And if your fluffy friend is in the room with the fireplace, stay with them to prevent any unfortunate accidents.

Don’t Overfeed your Dog

Many people believe that overstuffing pets is a surefire way to keep them safe from the winter elements. But that’s a misconception. Yes, it is true that consuming fats can keep a dog warm, but that doesn’t mean you need to overfeed your dog. Instead, you can follow a calorie-controlled meal plan that contains all the essential nutrients to keep your fluff bud healthy and warm.

Overstuffing a dog can lead to canine obesity, especially in winters, when dogs are usually sedentary hence do not burn many calories. Therefore, you shouldn’t overfeed your dog; instead, draft a healthy meal plan.

Keep your Dog Moisturized

Dry cold weather and flaky skin go hand in hand, and not just for humans. Dogs are equally susceptible to getting cracked skin during the winter season. To keep your canine-companion comfortable and free of skin troubles, you should keep them moisturized. You can either do so by rubbing coconut oil all over your dog’s skin or add a dollop to your pet’s food.

Also, don’t slack off on bathing your dog regularly. Just because the weather is chilly doesn’t mean you can leave your fur child for days without washing. Be sure you wash your little buddy regularly and moisturize their skin afterward.

Clean your Dog’s Paws after Every Walk

Unlike humans, dogs don’t usually put on uggs when venturing out, which is why their paws get covered in snow on the sidewalks. Clean your fur child’s pads after strolls in the open because ice and winter salts covering pavements everywhere can be toxic to their skin. If that’s too much of a hassle for you, then you can invest in dog booties; they’ll keep your pet’s paws covered and protected from the littered snow.

Don’t let any misconceptions stop you from giving your pup the care it deserves. Winters can be just as hard on dogs as they are on humans, so make sure you provide your fur child with the same comfort you give yourself.

by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration: