When the temperature drops overnight, dogs don’t have the benefit of pulling something out of the closet to wear.
While some parts of the country tend to enjoy mild winters, abrupt changes in the weather often leave pets shivering in shock.
Different dog breeds react to cold weather in different ways.
Some German shepherds like rain and snow and turn everything into a doggy playground.
But small breed pups like Morkies tend to be heat-seeking missiles eager to burrow into piles of fluffy blankets.
A draft sends them scurrying for shelter.
Cold weather may prompt fussy puppies to potty in the house because they don’t want to get their private regions chilly.
Here’s how to help your dog adapt to the cold and stay safe from potential winter hazards.
Avoid These Potential Dangers to Your Dog in Winter
Just like every season, winter provides unique dangers to your pup. Watch out for the following in cold weather months:
Ice and frozen water:
Thin ice is a real danger to dogs and puppies who might not realize where they’re stepping.
Prevent drowning and hypothermia by keeping your dog away from these areas.
Even if the ice is thick enough, your dog could lose control on the slippery surface and tear a muscle or ligament.
Even a little antifreeze could be fatal to your dog. It’s important to keep these containers locked away and mind any spills.
It’s also helpful to learn to recognize the symptoms of antifreeze poisoning in pets.
If you have an older dog who is already experiencing symptoms of arthritis, these symptoms can become more apparent in cold weather.
Help keep your dog as warm as possible (try heated bedding) and if your vet provided medication, be sure to give it to your dog as instructed.
Puppies also enjoy the comfort of the warm bedding, because after all, warmth is security. 🙂
Be extremely careful of leaving your dog in a running car while you shovel snow in the winter.
Stimulate Fur Growth
Acclimate pups gradually to outdoor chills. That stimulates their fur to grow thicker and be more protective.
Exclusively indoor pets won’t be as well equipped to spend time outside, so be aware and bring them back inside after only short trips to the
bathroom and back.
To get pets used to spending more time outdoors, offer small tastes of cold weather in short periods beginning in early Fall.
Once the weather drops to very cold, then a few moments of supervised time outside both morning & evening can help prompt thicker fur growth.
Offer a Sweater
Puppies are less cold tolerant because they have less muscle and fat mass than adults.
Muscle and fat increase their metabolism and keeps them warm. Puppy coats won’t be as thick or long to offer protection.
Little pups have less body mass to generate natural heat, too, and often benefit from a doggy sweater especially when they must do outdoor
Teach your puppy or small dog to wear a sweater to protect them from the cold.
Give your dog a whole outfit with a sweater and pair of boots!
Seriously, though, your dog’s paws are exposed to snow, ice and salt in the winter, all which could damage his paws or pads.
Look out for little snow or ice balls that may get caught in-between his toes or in the foot hair.
Iced sidewalks can cause chapped paws as well, and should either be avoided with boots or you should be sure to wash off your pet’s paws after a walk with a warm washcloth.
If left unwashed, your dog may lick his dry paws, ingesting the salt, which can lead to gastrointestinal irritation.
Reduce Fly-Away Fur
Pets often develop dry skin, dull coats, and static-filled fur during the winter as a result of artificial heat from furnaces.
You can offer your pet some Organic Coconut oil, or fatty acid supplements which help counteract the drying effects of winter weather.
Combing your pup can create even more static. Carefully stroke your dog with a smooth combed brush, from his neck to tail, and on both sides.
Be careful with his face and other tender areas.
When fur stays clean, untangled and dry, it traps a warm layer of air next to the pet’s skin that helps protect them from the cold.
Pets stay warm by burning fuel—the food they eat.
They need more calories to generate increased body warmth, too, especially if they’re outside and can’t rely on your warm lap.
Puppy food diets offer more calories but you need to free feed them, especially if your pup spends much time outside.
This means that they have the opportunity to eat whenever they want and need to , to prevent hypoglycemia.
Remember, your puppy needs to refuel often, if they are spending a lot of energy playing.