Getting Your Dog Ready for Winter!
As the winter winds and cold breezes remind us that it is time to get our winter clothes out of storage, it is reminding us that our dogs need to be prepared also.
Just because your dog has a year round fur coat does not mean that it will keep him/her warm during the cold spells of winter. It does not matter if your dog is an adult, puppy or senior dog, each has its own special needs and each breed has it own needs.
So let’s prepare for every stage of your dog’s life, and keep your pet safe, warm and happy now that winter is coming upon us.
If your dog is an outside dog, and lives mostly in its doghouse, now it the time to make certain it is in good condition. If it has needed some repair like holes in the roof or walls, do it now. Add a door or plastic flap to keep the cold wind out. If your dog has a dog run, a plastic sheet attached to the sides of the fence will keep out the cold winds of winter and make the space a little more enjoyable.
Most dogs that are used to being outside all the time can generally withstand most weather as long as they have a dry sheltered doghouse to climb into. Extreme temperatures, however, require bringing your dog inside or at least into a warmer garage area with a bed to lie in.
Do not let your dog off leash when walking especially during a snowstorm or times when there is snow on the ground or roads. Drivers have trouble enough driving in such weather, and may not be able to stop if your dog runs out into the road.
Dogs such as Huskies and other breeds that have been bred for the winter months love the snow and cold, but greyhounds and other shorthaired dogs do not have enough hair or fat to insulate them against the cold. This is where a nice coat or sweater comes in handy. If you get cold more than likely your dog will get cold, too.
Shoes for your dog! Sound silly, well, maybe! However, if the streets you walk on are salted the salt may irritate your dog’s pads and a bootie might just be the right thing for him/her to wear. Longhaired dogs have hair between their pads and can collect ice balls from the snow on their feet, many would love to wear some booties to make the walk more comfortable. Clipping the hair between the pads helps, but booties would keep their feet warm and cozy.
Puppies on the other hand are much more prone to cold conditions and can develop hypothermia and frostbite. Puppies should never be left outside for long periods of time. Remember if you are cold, they are, too.
Housebreaking a puppy during the winter months can be a challenge and will require that you carry the puppy outside and make certain he/she does its business and then bring them quickly back inside. This is where puppy-training pads become a godsend, as most puppies do not like to go out into the snow and cold. Personally I find puppy pads the most wonderful invention of all time and I truly recommend using them for housebreaking to all my friends and readers.
What are the signs of hypothermia? It happens when the body temperature of the puppy drops too low for the body to function properly. The puppy will start to shiver uncontrollably and will need to be brought inside and warmed up at once.
Frostbite on the other hand is damage to the skin and cannot usually be detected for a few days after it happens. The skin will turn a chalky white as the tissue starts to die. The areas most affected by frostbite are the ears, tail and paws. Do not let your puppy or dog for that matter outside in extreme weather in order to prevent that from happening.
Senior dogs are especially affected by cold weather. If your dog has arthritis, it more than likely will get worse during the cold weather. A warm cozy bed in a spot where your dog can keep on eye on the household activity would be greatly appreciated by your pet. There are beds being made now that will produce heat at a proper temperature once the dog lies on it. Some beds are made with memory foam that will give your dog great support and cushioning for its achy bones.
Senior dogs, just like puppies are very susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite, so take great care when taking your older dog outside in the winter time. Your senior pet would appreciate a nice warm coat or sweater and booties.
Winter is a fun time for both people and dogs, as long as you take the proper precautions and use common sense. Remember if you are cold, your pet more than likely is cold too. Siberian Huskies and other cold weather dogs
Holiday Preview at Drs. Foster & Smith. Valid through 12.25.07