As the cold season crawls in, it gets harder to deal with especially for your pet. Even with his thick coat, your dog can still feel chilly and may likely get a frostbite. Good thing, there are some safety measures you can take as a pet parent to protect your pup even when it starts to freeze outside.
Here are some tips to help your furry friend keep warm during cold weather.
1. Let your dog wear comfortable clothes
Chilly months are the perfect excuse to buy your pet some adorable dog clothes. This is especially helpful for pups who don’t have thick fur and need some extra protection in the cold. Anything that covers your dog’s body will make a huge difference in keeping him warm especially when you’re both outdoors.
Whatever dog clothes you choose to buy, be sure that it fits your canine friend correctly. Moreover, the clothes should be comfortable and not too loose nor restrictive. To get the right size, measure your dog around the neck, chest, and across the shoulders to find the perfect fit.
2. Limit the time spent outdoors
No dog should spend long hours outside in the cold. Keep in mind that your pup’s thick coat doesn’t protect all of his body parts. Only take your canine outside if he’s going to be doing some exercise and do it within a short period of time.
If you did take your dog outdoors, don’t forget to wipe down his paws before he enters the house. Snow, ice, salt, and toxic chemicals like de-icers can accumulate on your dog’s feet. If your pup licks them, he could end up swallowing poison.
Aside from wiping your dog’s paws, also check for any pad injuries as ice and snow can cause painful bleeding and cracks. Furthermore, trim the hair between your pup’s toes to avoid ice buildup.
Protect against the elements
For unfortunate cases where you have no choice but to leave your dog outdoors, make sure he has a dry, safe, and roomy shelter away from the wind. The shelter should have a raised floor elevated several inches off the ground, and sprinkled with straw or cedar shavings. Also, keep the doorway of his shelter covered with canvas or waterproof plastic.
3. Give your dog a bed
The floor is far too cold for your dog to sleep on. In this case, your pup may end up sleeping on the couch or your bed instead. To prevent this from happening, give your dog his own warm pet bed to slumber on.
You can add some blankets and dog toys on the bed to encourage your pet to sleep on it. For the maximum retention of heat, place the blanket in a doughnut shape so that your dog can curl up in the center. Having protection from the cold on all sides will only let your pup lose heat upwards rather than in all directions.
4. Pet-proof your home
Part of keeping your canine friend warm is to ensure his safety while he’s staying indoors. This means you have to pet-proof your house if you don’t want your beloved dog to burn himself and accidentally start a fire if, for example, you have a fireplace lit. If you can’t keep your eyes on your dog all the time, place him inside a play pen so that he doesn’t go to other dangerous sections of your home.
Understand the warning signs
Besides making sure that your dog warm, you should also be on the lookout for any symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia. This way, you’ll know when it’s serious and call a vet right away.
Bring your pet to the vet immediately if he:
- Seems weak and can’t stop shivering
- Has ice covering his body
- Slows down or stops moving
- Looks for warm areas to nestle
- Acts anxious or whines
If your dog is out cold, wrap him in a blanket and call your vet for more instructions. Take note that frostbite symptoms may take longer to show up, check your pup daily for any unusual changes.
Once the cold months are finally over and the sun is finally shining, take your dog outside to get some healthy vitamin D. Remember that just like humans, your dog has his own basic needs. Consider the tips above to ensure that your dog remains happy and safe even during freezing temperatures.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.