Tips for Keeping Your Dog Warm in the Winter
Many people believe that their dog is always wearing a coat and so is warm and naturally protected from the cold. Some dogs live their lives primarily outdoors so they need and want to spend time outside every day. However, certain dogs are more negatively affected by the cold than others; particularly older pets or those with certain conditions like arthritis.
Here's some simple tips to keep your dog warm this winter:
Get them a Coat or Sweater- preferably one with reflective stripes
It is unhealthy and uncomfortable to be cold. Dog breeds that are originally from warm climates need protection, particularly in Winter. These breeds typically do not have enough protective fur for the winter, as their fur is not thick enough.
A dog’s age, size and state of health also affects how well it can withstand cold. Slender breeds freeze faster because their mass in proportion to the area that dissipates warmth is smaller.
Dog coats are especially useful for:
Keep your dog indoors.
- Dogs with soft and long coats, which become dirty and wet easily
- Dogs that suffer from allergies or skin problems, as the coat keeps your dog dry and away from allergens that might irritate them.
- Keeping your home clean. When your dog wears a coat, the amount of dirt carried into the home is reduced significantly, especially in muddy and wet weather.
Bring your dog inside. Very simple, forget worrying about dog hair, or spoiling them -they need to be safe and warm
Invest in proper outdoor housing.
If your dog absolutely has to spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure he has proper shelter. Consider getting a doghouse with a sloped roof, insulation and possibly a heater (make sure the heater is 100% safe and meant for being run outdoors). Add bedding to where they lay so they are not on cold floors. Invest in a dog heating pad.
Get them Boots to protect their paws
Snowballing hurts dog paws, keep their paws safe and give them the traction they need for snow and ice. We recommend boots that have side openings for easy on/off. Also, a pad on the bottom will protect them from stepping on snow-covered twigs.
Make sure he’s getting enough food.
Some dogs burn more calories during the winter while they’re trying to stay warm. This may make him hungrier, so feed him a little more in the winter months if it seems he needs it.
Cold weather isn’t always fun to deal with, especially for animals. Although they love playing in the snow, it’s not as fun when they are cold. Also remember, dogs can catch colds and their arthritis flairs in the cold, just like us. Keep your dog safe and healthy by keeping him warm this winter season.
Signs of burned pads:
- limping or refusing to walk
- licking or chewing at the feet
- pads darker in color
- missing part of pad
- blisters or redness
Be careful if you take your dog swimming and then go on hot pavement.
The time in the water softens their pads so dry off the paws and walk on the grass.
Burned pad first aid
It is important to keep the foot area cool and clean. As soon as you notice the problem (limping along on the road), flush with cool water or a cool compress if available. Get the dog to a grassy area or if possible, carry him.
At first chance, your vet should examine your dog for signs of deeper burns, blisters and possibility of infection. Your vet will determine if antibiotics or pain medication is needed. Washing the feet with a gentle cleanser and keeping them clean is important. Bandaging can be difficult to do and to maintain (monitor and change often), but licking must be kept to a minimum.
Dog boots works great to stop the licking because the double straps keep it secure.
Some dogs will tolerate a sock to keep the area clean, but caution is advised for dogs that may chew and ingest the sock. Lick deterrents (bitter sprays) may help reduce the damage caused by licking.
Best advice is to be mindful of hot surfaces -- asphalt and metal (i.e. boat dock, car or truck surfaces) -- and walk your dog on the cool side of the street or in the grass. Another tip is to lay down a wet towel for your dog to stand on when grassy areas are not available
Preventing Dog Paw Injury in the Summer Heat
There are several measures that dog owners can take to prevent burns and injury to a dog's paw pads. Some of these preventative measures designed to prevent pad injuries will also make the dog less vulnerable to other summertime pet dangers, like canine heat stroke and sunburn.
Tips For Dog Summer Safety
- Walk the dog in the early morning or evening to avoid paw pad burns. Avoid walking the dog in the heat of the day, when the sun beats down, heating the pavement and sand.
- Walk the dog on the grass. The grass remains cooler than the sidewalk, lessening a dog's chance of paw pad injuries in the summer. This makes a trip to a shady park a good option for an afternoon walk in the summertime.
- Take frequent dog walks on the pavement during cool times of day. This will help toughen a dog's paw pads by promoting the formation of callus. This makes the skin of the dog's foot pads thicker and less prone to injuries like burns and cuts. Dogs who rarely walk on pavement will have more sensitive paw pads and they require more frequent nail clippings, as walking on pavement files the dog's nails.
- Moisturize the dog's paws on a daily basis. Keep a dog's paws well moisturized with Vaseline® or a special paw pad balm or cream, like Musher's Secret®. Moisturizing the dog's paw pads will prevent cracking, peeling and minor pad cuts. These injuries will cause the dog's pads to become more sensitive once healing is complete, so preventing injury is key.